Annotated Bibliography Guide: Elements of Annotation

An annotated bibliography is a descriptive and evaluative list of citations for books, articles, or other documents.

Elements of Annotation

If you are writing your annotated bibliography for a class you should always follow your instructors directions.

A typical annotation follows this outline:

  1. Author information
    Who is the author? What is her/his background? Is the author qualified to write this document?
  2. Author's purpose
    What is the author's purpose in writing this article or doing this research? Is the purpose stated or implied? Does the author have a particular message?
  3. Audience information
    To what audience is the author writing (scholars, teachers, the general public, etc.)? Is this reflected in the author's style of writing or presentation?
  4. Author bias
    Does the author show any biases or make assumptions upon which the rationale of the article rests? If so, what are they?
  5. Information source
    What methods did the author use to obtain the data? Is the article based on personal opinion, experience, interviews, library research, questionnaires, laboratory experiments, empirical observation, or standardized personality tests?
  6. Author conclusion
    What conclusions does the author draw? Are these conclusions specifically stated or implied?
  7. Conclusion justification
    Are the conclusions justified from the research or experience? Are the conclusions in sync with the original purpose of the research and supported by the data? Are the conclusions skewed by bias?
  8. Relationship to other works
    How does this work compare with others cited? Does it conflict with conventional wisdom, established scholarship, government policy, etc.? Are there specific studies or writings cited with which this one agrees or disagrees? Are there any opinions not cited of which readers should be aware? Is the evidence balanced or weighted in favor of a particular perspective?
  9. Time frame
    Is the work current? Is this important? How does the time in which it was written reflect on the information contained in this work?
  10. Significant attachments
    Are there significant attachments such as appendices, bibliographies, illustrations, etc.? Are they valuable or not? If there are none, should there be?

Subject Guide

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