Annotating Sources

In the Annotated Bibliography assignment, you are asked to annotate potential sources for your research topic. Some of these sources will later appear in your literature review—both the stand-alone assignment and the section included at the beginning of the research prospectus assignment. Thus, the effort you put into effectively and successfully annotating your sources now will contribute to your work for the remainder of the semester.

What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

A bibliography is a list of sources one has used for researching a topic, sometimes called a “References” (APA) or “Works Cited” (MLA) page. A bibliography usually just includes the relevant bibliographic information: the author, title, publisher, date, etc.

An annotation is a summary and an evaluation. An evaluation assesses and reflects. Therefore, in addition to being a summary, an annotation is an analysis of sorts.

Thus, an annotated bibliography includes the pertinent bibliographic information, a summary, and an evaluation of each source used in a research project.

Practically, an annotated bibliography is a list of sources with two parts:

  1. The necessary bibliographical information for the source
  2. The annotation

Why Should I Annotate Sources?

Annotating sources is significant for several reasons:

  • Annotating demands that you engage with sources, which is necessary for effective research. You must read critically and ask certain questions of a source in order to better understand and determine each source’s usefulness and relevance to your own research needs.
  • Annotating multiple sources allows you to identify themes and patterns among those sources and to therefore draw connections between sources more easily.
  • Annotating sources allows you to explore and discuss the relevance and reliability of your sources to your specific research topic.
  • Practically, annotating sources in an annotated bibliography provides you a useful and easily accessible list of information about your various sources.