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What is an annotated bibliography?
An annotated bibliography is a brief account of research on a given topic. It is a list of citations, each followed by a short paragraph, called the annotation, commenting on the sources.
Why do an annotated bibliography?
An annotated bibliography allows you to learn about your topic and is excellent preparation for an essay. It helps you to read more carefully and better understand a reading. Rather than just collect information, you read more critically, which is very important for essay writing at university. When it comes to writing your essay, you will be able to develop an argument more quickly by reviewing your annotations and comparing the similarities and differences between the authors points of view.
What does an annotated bibliography look like?
This is an example of one entry in an annotated bibliography. The whole annotated bibliography is a list of these entries.
How do I write an annotated bibliography entry?
As the above example demonstrates. Your entry needs to include a full citation of the text, in APA style, and then do the following:
Summarize: What are the main arguments? What is the point of the text? What topics are covered? If someone asked what it is about, what would you say? Make sure you paraphrase and dont copy the text (see Further Resources below for a link to information on paraphrasing)
Ken Battle outlines some fundamental assumptions supporting the belief that all society members should contribute to the upbringing ofchildren. His comparison of Canadian child poverty rates to those in other countries provides a useful wake-up to anyone assuming Canadian society is doing a good job of protecting children from want. Ultimately though, Battle relies too heavily on his own work; he is the sole or primary author of almost half the sources in his bibliography. However, Battle does offer a valuable source for this essay, because the chapter provides a concise overview of government-funded assistance currently available to parents.
The citation is APA style, as it would appear in a reference list A summary of the key argument and approach of the work is provided An evaluation of the quality of the work Comments on the usefulness of the article for your research.
Evaluate: After summarizing a source, evaluate it. Why is it a useful source? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source? (see Further Resources below for a link to information on evaluating)
Reflect: Once you’ve summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research.
How does it help you shape your argument?
How can you use this source in your essay?
Has it changed how you think about your topic?
(Owl at Purdue) Also have a think about:
How well does this text address your topic?
Does it cover the topic thoroughly or only one aspect of it?
Do the research methods seem appropriate and does the argument stand up to scrutiny?
Does it agree with or contradict other writings on the same topic?
What do I do with my annotated bibliography once I finish it?
As you start planning your essay review your list of sources and annotations (the annotated bibliography). Make notes on which sources agree in their argument and where they differ. Identify themes in the approach of different authors to the topic. Then reflect again.
How would you summarise the overall thinking from authors about the topic?
This will give you your argument for our essay.
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