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Annotated Bibliography: 4. Write Annotations

Annotations

Create an annotation for each resource.

An annotation is a summary of the main arguments, topics and conclusions.

Generally, each resource’s annotation would be a paragraph or two long, although your professor may have other specifications.

Components of the Annotation

  1. Evaluate the authority or author background
  2. Comment on the intended audience
  3. Explain what the resource is about
  4. Explain how it contributes to your topic
  5. Compare and contrast it with other citations in your annotated bibliography

You may cover all or some of the above components in your annotation.

Sample Annotated Bibliography Entries

There are a number of options for formatting the annotation portion of an entry (indent the first line of the annotation, block indent the entire annotation and so on). The examples in this help sheet are one option – check with your instructor to see if he/she has any preference.

APA style (following the 6th edition, 2010):

Please note that The Publication Manual for the American Psychological Association, 6th edition (2010) does not provide any specific direction for preparing an annotated bibliography.  The following is one possible format – check with your instructor to see if they have any particular preference.

Miller, A., Shoptaugh, C., & Wooldridge, J. (2011). Reasons not to cheat, academic-integrity responsibility and frequency of cheating. Journal of Experimental Education, 79, 169-184. doi:10.1080/00220970903567830

This article discusses the results of a survey that looked at the reasoning university students used when choosing whether or not to cheat. The study found that students who focussed on the potential punishment if they were caught cheating tended to be more likely to have cheated in the past. Students who felt that cheating was wrong for moral reasons reported cheating less often. A major drawback of this type of study is that it relies on the honesty of the respondents in reporting a negative behaviour. It is likely that people would under-report frequency of cheating or simply not respond.

MLA style (following the 7th edition, 2009):

The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers suggests that the annotation be placed immediately after your citation as in the example below. However, your professor may prefer that you format it as in the APA example above (the annotation is separated from the citation and is written as one block).

Miller, Arden, Carol Shoptaugh, and Jessica Wooldridge. “Reasons Not to Cheat, Academic-Integrity Responsibility and Frequency of Cheating.” Journal of Experimental Education 79 (2011): 169-184. Academic Search Premier. Web. July 10, 2012.This article discusses the results of a survey that looked at the reasoning university students used when choosing whether or not to cheat. The study found that students who focussed on the potential punishment if they were caught cheating tended to be more likely to have cheated in the past. Students who felt that cheating was wrong for moral reasons reported cheating less often. A major drawback of this type of study is that it relies on the honesty of the respondents in reporting a negative behaviour. It is likely that people would under-report frequency of cheating or simply not respond.