annotated bibliography 561



Instructions for Annotated Bibliography Assignment

Assignment: Produce an Annotated Bibliography of five sources that focus on a one of the texts assigned this semester.

  • Begin with a research question or tentative, working thesis that relates to one of the texts assigned this semester as if you were conducting research for a seven to ten-page researched essay.
    • For example: “What were the pre-Civil War laws and social attitudes towards “miscegenation” in the South, and Louisiana in particular? How does Kate Chopin reveal the nature of these laws and social attitudes in “Desiree’s Baby”?

From here you might first want to find sources that explain 19th century laws on miscegenation—what were the penalties, how strictly were these laws enforced, etc. What were the classifications of “mixed race”? Next you might want to look at scholarly articles that examine and assess Chopin’s stories. You could also look at publication history and readers’ reception when first published. Point is, once you have a “question,” the next step is to look for sources that could provide some answers . . .

Audience: Assume you are writing this bibliography for fellow students who share your interest in the topic chosen.


  • To deepen your understanding if the significance of the author/text chosen
  • To demonstrate your understanding of the arguments/points raised in the sources chosen
  • To demonstrate your ability to choose reliable, scholarly sources that are relevant to your topic.

Annotated Bibliographies can also serve as a guide for future researchers.


  • Each entry in your annotated bibliography – the bibliographical information plus the two-paragraph annotation – should take up at least ½ of a page.
  • Bibliographies that are too brief and lacking content will receive grades that reflect that fact.

Source Requirements:

  • Your five required sources should all be written in English.
  • ONLY TWO of your required sources may be (but do not have to be) documents from an Internet website AND/OR audio/visual sources, such as a film documentary.
  • At least THREE of your required sources must be selected from among the following options:
  • Old-fashioned, hard copy books. These include books that are entirely about your issue or books that contain a chapter or section about your topic, and anthologies (collections of essays by various writers) that include one or more essays about your topic.
  • Articles about your topic accessed through any of our library’s GALILEO databases. For any journal or magazine article, you must provideboth the publication data for the original, hard-copy article published on paper and the electronic source information (the database, etc.).
  • Electronic books obtained from GPC’s “netlibrary” or “ebrary.”

Students are responsible for evaluating the quality of sources. Remember that material from the Internet, in particular, may be unreliable. (Anyone can sayanything on the Internet.)

The quality of sources will affect the grade received.

  • Choose the required five sources carefully. They should be substantive and specific to your topic.
  • They should not be redundant: Do not choose a source if it merely repeats the content of another source already chosen.
  • Do not try to summarize a source that you cannot understand. Either get help so you can understand it, or reject the source and find something that makes sense to you.

Annotations of Sources:

Each Annotation entry must include TWO well-developed paragraphs: a summary paragraph and a paragraph that evaluates the source.

  • Paragraph 1: Summary

An annotation is an objective summary of the source. Your summary must use attribution tags that identify not only what the source says but also what it does. The first sentence of your summary should state in your own words the thesis or major purpose of the source. The rest of the annotation should provide an overview of the content and indicate the strategies used to develop the piece. A good summary should have these qualities:

  • It should be accurate; it should not misrepresent the contents of the source.
  • It should provide an overview of the source’s content and organization without providing distracting details.
  • It should be an objective description.
  • Writing style and tone is concise, precise, and accurate.

About annotating books: Remember, you do not have to annotate an entire book. You may annotate just a single chapter, or the introduction, or an excerpt of some kind.

About Quotations: Each annotation should be your own original composition, and quoting should generally be avoided. You may have one quotation per annotation if the quotation is no longer than one relatively short sentence. No “dropped quotations” are allowed: use attribution tags. Also, if you quote, do not chop up the quoted material so that it makes no sense or distorts meaning.

Paragraph 2: Evaluation

Evaluate the source; express your opinion about the strengths and/or weaknesses of the source and why the source may be useful to researchers.

Note the following:

  • List the five sources alphabetically by author.
  • Present the information in MLA format–not APA




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