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Eng 101 Controversial Issue- Professor Susan Courtney: Annotated Bibliography

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

MLA 9 Quick Guide & Sample Annotated Bibliography

Additional information about citations is available on the library website.

Check out the MLA 9 Quick Guide and Sample Annotated Bibliography.

Why Write an Annotated Bibliography?

To learn about your topic: Writing an annotated bibliography is excellent preparation for a research project. Just collecting sources for a bibliography is useful, but when you have to write annotations for each source, you're forced to read each source more carefully. You begin to read more critically instead of just collecting information. At the professional level, annotated bibliographies allow you to see what has been done in the literature and where your own research or scholarship can fit. To help you formulate a thesis: Every good research paper is an argument. The purpose of research is to state and support a thesis. So, a very important part of research is developing a thesis that is debatable, interesting, and current. Writing an annotated bibliography can help you gain a good perspective on what is being said about your topic. By reading and responding to a variety of sources on a topic, you'll start to see what the issues are, what people are arguing about, and you'll then be able to develop your own point of view.

To help other researchers: Extensive and scholarly annotated bibliographies are sometimes published. They provide a comprehensive overview of everything important that has been and is being said about that topic. You may not ever get your annotated bibliography published, but as a researcher, you might want to look for one that has been published about your topic.


What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to sources used in your research and a summary (annotation)/evaluation of the source. Each source must be cited according the MLA Guide to citation format. Unless you receive specific requirements from your instructor, the annotation should include:

  • A summary:  Overview of the topic discussed in the source and the main arguments. 
  • A reflection: Discuss how the sources fits into your research and  how it supports your argument(s). If the source changed how you thought about your topic.

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