What is it?
An annotated bibliography is a collection of sources that includes a reference/works cited entry and one
or more of the following: a description of the content and focus of the book or article, a suggestion of
the sources usefulness to your research, an evaluation of its method, conclusions, or reliability, and a
record of your reactions to the source.
What goes into the text?
Each entry in an annotated bibliography begins with a citation in the style determined by your professor
(i.e. APA, MLA). The content of the annotation depends on what is being asked. Should it be
indicative, informative, evaluative, or a combination? Regardless of type, each entry should remain
relatively brief; only significant information should be mentioned.
A combination annotation is the most common type because it contains one or two sentences
summarizing or describing the content and then a few more sentences providing an evaluation. See the
Morris, J.M. (1959). Reading in the primary school: An investigation into standards of reading and their
association with primary school characteristics. London: Newnes, for National Foundation for
The author reports on a large-scale investigation into English childrens reading standards and
their relation to conditions such as size of classes, types or organization and methods of teaching.
The report is based on inquiries in sixty schools in Kent and covers 8,000 children learning to
read English as their mother tongue. The work is notable for thoroughness of research
An indicative annotation defines the scope of the source, lists the significant topics included, and tells
what the source is about. There is no attempt to give actual data such as hypotheses, proofs, etc.
Generally, only topics or chapter titles are included. See the example below:
Griffin, C. (Ed.). (1982). Teaching writing in all disciplines. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
This book includes ten essays on writing-across-the-curriculum programs, teaching writing in
disciplines other than English, and teaching techniques for using writing as learning. Essays
include Toby Fulwiler, Writing: An Act of Cognition; Barbara King, Using Writing in the
Rev. 8/18/2016 ***Adapted from http://www.wisc.edu/writing/Handbook/AnnotatedBibliography.html***
Mathematics Class: Theory and Practice; Dean Drenk, Teaching Finance Through Writing;
Elaine P. Mairnon, Writing Across the Curriculum: Past, Present, and Future.
An informative annotation is simply a summary of the source. Begin by writing the thesis; then
develop it with the argument or hypothesis, list the proofs, and state the conclusion. See the example
Voeltz, L.M. (1980). Childrens attitudes toward handicapped peers. American Journal of Mental
Deficiency, 84, 455-464.
As services for severely handicapped children become increasingly available within
neighborhood public schools, childrens attitudes toward handicapped peers in integrated settings
warrant attention. Factor analysis of attitude survey responses of 2,392 children revealed four
factors underlying attitudes toward handicapped peers: social-contact willingness, deviance
consequation, and two actual contact dimensions. Upper elementary-age children, girls, and
children in schools with most contact with severely handicapped peers expressed the most
accepting attitudes. Results of this study suggest the modifiability of childrens attitudes and the
need to develop interventions to facilitate social acceptance of individual differences in
integrated school settings.
An evaluative annotation assesses the sources strengths and weaknesses. It mentions why the source is
interesting/helpful to you and/or why it is not. You should also include what kind of and how much
information is given. See the example below:
Gurko, L. (1968). Ernest Hemingway and the pursuit of heroism. New York: Crowell.
This book is part of a series called Twentieth Century American Writers: A Brief Introduction
to the Man and his Work. After fifty pages of straight biography, Gurko discussed
Hemingways writing, novel by novel. Theres an index and a short bibliography, but no notes.
The biographical part is clear and easy to read, but it sounds too much like summary.
Are personal attributes or structural privilege/obstacles, or something else, better predictors of academic success?
What is it?