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Annotated Bibliographies: Annotated Bibliographies

Annotated Bibliographies vs. Bibliographies

A bibliography is a list of resources (e.g., articles, books, websites, or reports) that you've cited or consulted in doing an academic assignment. Bibliographies are

  • typically organized alphabetically
  • structured according to one of various types of citation styles, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago.

However, an annotated bibliography is slightly different. Annotated bibliographies contain additional information that describes and, quite frequently, evaluates a given resource.

Each entry in an annotated bibliography has two distinct parts:

  • the citation
  • the annotation

Other Resources on Annotated Bibliographies

Here are other guides you can check out for help on writing annotated bibliographies:

Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL): Annotated Bibliography Samples

Simon Fraser University Library: How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

Concordia University Libraries: How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography

[Some of the information on this VIU guide has been adapted from these sources.]

Citations and Annotations

Citations: These can be written in any citation style--for example:

  • APA
  • MLA
  • Chicago

Check with your instructor about the preferred citation style.

Annotations: Most annotations are written in paragraph form.

They can range from a sentence or two to a couple of pages.

Every annotated bibliography assignment is different when it comes to length expectations, so check with your instructor.

Guides on Citation Styles

Citing Your Sources: Check VIU Library's guide to information on using well known citation styles such as APA, MLA, and Chicago.

What do annotated bibliographies do?

There are different types of annotated bibliographies, and there aren't any formal names for these types.

An annotated bibliography is basically a list of resources that you have discovered through research. These resources could be any of the following, depending on what your instructor is asking you to find:

  • Articles from scholarly (academic) journals
  • Articles from newspapers or magazines
  • Books (or chapters from books)
  • Government documents
  • Business or industry reports
  • Websites (or blogs)
  • Presentations from conferences or professional conventions

Instructors will often ask in their assignments that your annotated bibliography do one or more of the following things:

  • Summarize a resource (describe its content)
  • Summarize and evaluate a resource (is the resource reliable? what are the resource's strengths and weaknesses? how did the author arrive at their conclusions? are the references consulted by the author reliable and valid?)
  • Summarize and evaluate a resource and explain why you think it's significant or useful for your particular assignment
  • Summarize and evaluate a resource in relation to other resources in your annotated bibliography
  • Describe your reaction to the resource

Summarizing and evaluating/critiquing resources are typically done in most annotated bibliographies, but you may be asked to configure yours in a certain way. Make sure you're following any specific guidelines from your instructor.

 

The example below is of an entry in an annotated bibliography that attempts to

  • summarize a journal article
  • provide an evaluation of the resource
  • explain why the article is significant or useful to the student's assignment

The example is written in MLA style. To see other citation styles, scroll down this page for other examples.

Chowdhury, Tufayel, Darren Scott, and Pavlos Kanaroglou. "Urban Form and Commuting

    Efficiency: A Comparative Analysis across Time and Space." Urban Studies 50.1 (2013):

    191-207. Web. 21 July 2014.

 

    Chowdhury, Scott, and Kanaroglou examine the relationship between the form of a city

    and the efficiency of commuting. The study compared commuting efficiency rates in

    three Canadian cities: Halifax, Nova Scotia; Hamilton, Ontario; and Vancouver, British

    Columbia. Amongst their conclusions, Chowdhury, Scott, and Kanaroglou state that

    even though commuting is generally more efficient in cities where there is a balanced

    jobs-to-housing distribution, this may not be the case with Vancouver: even though

    people in Vancouver may live closer to their workplaces than in Halifax, their commute

    has not decreased. The article covers new ground in that it uses an alternative

    approach--specifically, a modified form of a quantitative methodology known as

    Brotchie's triangle. The authors claim that this approach provides a way to look at a

    city's commuting patterns with respect to urban form, but they also admit that it may not

    be the best measure of comparing the distance between jobs and housing.

    This article is quite useful in my assignment as it provides a clear contrast to the article

    by Hodson and Vannini, who have used a qualitiative, ethnographically-based strategy to

    explore the lives of a specific set of British Columbia commuters.

 

 

What does an entry in an annotated bibliography look like?

The examples below attempt to summarize the main points of an article and its methodology, as well as provide a reaction and short evaluations of authors' study. Note the two distinct parts:

  • the citation [Hodson, J., & Vannini, P. (2007). Island time: The media logic and ritual of ferry commuting on Gabriola Island, BC. Canadian Journal of Communication, 32(2), 261-275]
  • the annotation (the entire paragraph that follows).

Example in APA style

Notice how hanging indents are used in APA:

  • The first line of the citation starts at the left margin, and then subsequent lines are indented 4 spaces.

Hodson, J., & Vannini, P. (2007). Island time: The media logic and ritual of ferry commuting

    on Gabriola Island, BC. Canadian Journal of Communication, 32(2), 261-275.

 

    Hodson and Vannini explore the notion of time as it is experienced in a bodily way by

    residents of Gabriola Island as they commute to and from Nanaimo on the MV Quinsam

    ferry. Using ethnographic methods such as participant observation and interviewing as

    well as writing in a narrative way, Hodson and Vannini attempt to convey how a sense of

    time is shaped by the rituals of Gabriola Islanders' everyday commuting and the

    idiosyncracies of ferry travel.The article does not aim to depict any sense of validity in a

    quantitative sense. Rather, Hodson and Vanini aim to show the trustworthiness of their

    conclusions from their personal narrative style--that the reader can be impressed by the

    realistic depiction of the commuters' lived experiences.

Example in MLA style

Hanging indents are also required in MLA style:

  • The first line of the citation starts at the left margin. Subsequent lines are indented 4 spaces.
  • The bibliography is double-spaced, both within the citation and between the citation and the annotation.

Hodson, Jaigris, and Phillip Vannini. "Island Time: The Media Logic and Ritual of Ferry

    Commuting on Gabriola Island, BC." Canadian Journal of Communication 32.2 (2007):

    261-275. Web. 17 July 2014.

 

    Hodson and Vannini explore the notion of time as it is experienced in a bodily way by

    residents of Gabriola Island as they commute to and from Nanaimo on the MV Quinsam

    ferry. Using ethnographic methods such as participant observation and interviewing as

    well as writing in a narrative way, Hodson and Vannini attempt to convey how a sense of

    time is shaped by the rituals of Gabriola Islanders' everyday commuting and the

    idiosyncracies of ferry travel.The article does not aim to depict any sense of validity in a

    quantitative sense. Rather, Hodson and Vanini aim to show the trustworthiness of their

    conclusions from their personal narrative style--that the reader can be impressed by the

    realistic depiction of the commuters' lived experiences.

Example in Chicago style (Author-Date System)

Hanging indents are also required in Chicago style:

  • The first line of the citation starts at the left margin. Subsequent lines are indented 4 spaces.
  • The bibliography is double-spaced, both within the citation and between the citation and the annotation.

Hodson, Jaigris, and Phillip Vannini. “Island Time: The Media Logic and Ritual of Ferry

    Commuting on Gabriola Island, BC.” Canadian Journal of Communication 32, no. 2

    (2007): 261-75. Accessed July 17, 2014. http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.viu.ca/

    docview/219578486?accountid=12246.

 

    Hodson and Vannini explore the notion of time as it is experienced in a bodily way by

    residents of Gabriola Island as they commute to and from Nanaimo on the MV Quinsam

    ferry. Using ethnographic methods such as participant observation and interviewing as

    well as writing in a narrative way, Hodson and Vannini attempt to convey how a sense of

    time is shaped by the rituals of Gabriola Islanders' everyday commuting and the

    idiosyncracies of ferry travel.The article does not aim to depict any sense of validity in a

    quantitative sense. Rather, Hodson and Vanini aim to show the trustworthiness of their

    conclusions from their personal narrative style--that the reader can be impressed by the

    realistic depiction of the commuters' lived experiences.