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TWRT 211 - Thompson: Annotated Bibliography

What is an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a compilation of notes about a source alongside the source's bibliographic information. It differs from a Bibliography, References or Works Cites list that only provides only bibliographic information without any commentary. The annotation is a "note" that explains comments on, or gives your reader a sense of the important takeaways from the source, as well as your learning and use of that source. 

An annotated bibliography has two parts:

1. The citations. For this class, these will be in MLA format.

2. The annotations. Each citation is followed by a summary/evaluation of each source citation.


Citations are a way of giving credit when material in your work came from another source. It also gives your readers the information necessary to find that source again-- an important roadmap to your research process. Whenever you use sources such as books, journals, media, or websites in your research, you must give credit to the original creator by citing the source. 


Annotations vs. Abstracts

Abstracts are the purely descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles or in periodical indexes. Annotations are descriptive and critical; they expose the author's point of view, clarity and appropriateness of expression, and authority.


Annotations for each citation are written in paragraph form and can vary in length. A simple summary may only be several sentences, and an extensive analysis may be several paragraphs. Generally, the annotations have two parts:


  • What is the overall point of the work?
  • What are the main arguments, and what themes are covered? 
  • How are the arguments presented?

Critical Analysis:

  • How can the source be used, and how does it fit into what you are learning about social science theory?
  • Compare sources with one another, what is unique about each source?
  • How has this source helped to develop your learning and analysis?
  • Did you find the source useful? Why or why not?

Information from

What does an annotation look like?

[Citation] Booker, Susan M. "Dioxin in Vietnam: Fighting a Legacy of War."  Environmental Health Perspectives 109.3 (2001): 116. ProQuest. Web. 29 Ap. 2009. 


[Annotation] Booker reports on the launch of a joint research program on the human and environmental health effects from spraying Agent Orange and other herbicides during the Vietnam War. The extent of Agent Organge exposure among the Vietnamese, identification of highly contaminated areas and monitoring migration of dioxin are assessed. The author asserts the government is not doing enough to help the Vietnamese people who still suffer from Agent Orange. This is written for people with little prior knowledge of this...

Example annotation from Lloyd Sealy Library