Creating an Annotated List of Works Cited
A bibliography is an alphabetized list of sources showing the author, date, and publication information for each source.
An annotation is like a note; it’s a brief paragraph that explains what the writer learned from the source.
Annotated bibliographies combine bibliographies and brief notes about the sources.
Writers often create annotated bibliographies as a part of a research project, as a means of recording their thoughts and deciding which sources to actually use to support the purpose of their research. Some writers include annotated bibliographies at the end of a research paper as a way of offering their insights about the source’s usability to their readers.
Instructors in college often assign annotated bibliographies as a means of helping students think through their source’s quality and appropriateness to their research question or topic.
Although it may take a while to complete the annotated bibliography, the annotations themselves are relatively brief.
Annotations may include three things:
- A brief summary of the information in that source.
- A brief evaluation of the quality of the source’s information.
- A brief evaluation of how the source might be useful for the purpose of the research. (33)
MLA 8th Edition Citation Styles
The research argument that you are writing for this course should follow the citation method that is outlined in the eighth edition of the Modern Language Association (MLA) Handbook. You should be familiar with MLA formatting and documentation principles from your studies in English Composition I, but here is a quick tutorial on the changes in the eighth edition of the handbook and some sample citations that you will follow in composing the Works Cited page for your research argument.
In order to accommodate the rapidly expanding number of digital sources and formats, MLA 8th edition has moved away from citation formats for specific source types (e.g., a book, a magazine article, a web page, etc.).
Instead, MLA 8 requires writers to identify sources based on nine key properties, or Core Elements . The idea is that these nine features are common across different platforms and can be combined to identify any source type that you might run across.
The writer’s job is to identify these elements and use them to create citations. This new approach requires students to recognize what these elements look like in different contexts. The nine elements are numbered below in order to facilitate the process of identifying the elements across platforms and source types (DVDs, books, web pages, articles, videos, etc.). (34)
Nine Core Elements
MLA 8th Edition Citation
Note that many sources do not have all of the nine core elements while many online resources, such as articles found in collegiate databases and television programs and documentaries watched on digital platforms like Hulu, YouTube, and Netflix, will use more than one instance of certain elements.
Here is how the following web page article: “Introducing Your New Cat to Other Pets” can be broken down into its core elements:
Note: If there is no named author, start your citation with the source title.
MLA 8th Edition Citation
Here’s how to break down the Core Elements of the following article, “Burr Conspiracy,” from the Encyclopedia of the New American Nation in the Gale Virtual Reference Library.
Note that the encyclopedia is a container, which is housed inside a larger container, the Gale Virtual Reference Library.
Keep track of the core elements of your research materials, as you will need to create an alphabetized Works Cited list that directly follows the body of your research argument. For the assignment in this learning module, you will need to create an annotated Works Cited page for at least three of the sources that you have already identified in the planning stages of your writing process. (34)