Assignment: An annotated bibliography is a list of citations for sources: books, chapters, articles in academic journal articles, interviews, etc. Thatâ€™s the bibliography part. The annotation follows the citation, and, in the case of this assignment, will be a 150-word part summary, part description, part evaluation, part quote collection, part relevant page number collection. You can also check out an example at the Purdue OWL at
Please note that the 150-word minimum does not include the actual bibliographic entry! The entire assignment should be at least 2,000 words for the entire document (but no more than 2,300 words).
For this assignment, youâ€™ll need to do three things:
- The Bibliography part: full publication details of each source — you know, just like youâ€™d do with a references page. The references page should look just as polished as any youâ€™d find in any academic journal. Follow the models of APA format. Be meticulous.
- Once you complete your annotated bibliography, youâ€™ve basically already created your references page, and once you write the final draft of your paper, youâ€™ll be able to take your annotated bibliography, delete all the annotations and sources you didnâ€™t use — and voila! You will have your references page!
- The Annotation part: in an annotated bibliography, an annotation is basically a collection of notes explaining the bibliographic (source) item. Often included in an annotation is a critical comment on whether the source is useful in the context of the topic being researched. In the broader circles of academe, an annotated bibliography is a useful research tool because it gives researchers an idea of specifically what kind of and how much research exists in a given field. If you were to find an annotated bibliography on your topic (and there are lots of them out there), much of your research would be done — youâ€™d simply have to go find some of the actual sources listed, study them for yourself, decide how useful they are going to be for your research, and then write your own annotation.
- At Least One Useful Quote per source, accompanied by your thoughts about / analysis of / interpretation of the quote. Your thoughts / summary / analysis should be equal (or more) in length to the quote. You can do more than one of these things if you want. It is possible that your well-chosen quote(s) and writing about each quote could go straight into your paper.
- Note: the Annotation + Useful Quote / Thoughts can equal the entire 150 words, as long as you donâ€™t take advantage and find ten super-long quotes. A good rule of thumb might be 100 words of annotation and 50 words devoted to the quote / thoughts.
What you might include in your 150-word annotation:
- A statement about how the source might be useful to you as you write your paper.
- A few page numbers or chapter titles / headings under which you think you can find useful information.
- Any other notes that you can make about your source that might go straight into your paper.
- A statement about the sourceâ€™s readability / audience. Does it look like the intended audience is people who already know about the topic? Does the author use terms and expect the reader to know them? Does the source give background material so that even novices understand the terminology?
Special note about formatting: The annotations must be well-written and edited, and they must be in paragraph form. If you need to create a bulleted list of specific page numbers and / or chapter titles / headings, you may, but remember good document design principles and make the list a visually and writing style appropriate part of the rest of your annotation. Don’t forget that this is an APA formatted assignment, so you will want to include a properly formatted cover page (don’t worry about an abstract, though).
Obviously, if you do all of these things for each source, youâ€™re going to have a crazy amount of writing. Thatâ€™s fine. Your other option is to pick and choose what to include in your annotations based on the sources. Some sources are going to be more useful than others and youâ€™ll want to write more than 150 words about them. Some sources arenâ€™t going to help much at all and youâ€™ll barely be able to come up with 150 words. Use your best judgment to make this annotated bibliography as useful and helpful to you as you can. Remember: more work done early, less work for later.
Source requirements: At least ten sources. Be smart about this — donâ€™t collect random sources just to get the assignment done. Thatâ€™s a huge waste of time. Only use sources you genuinely think will help you write your paper. If you take the time to do a good job with this early work, your papers will practically write themselves. If you just do this annotated bibliography to â€œget it done,â€ then youâ€™ll end up back in the library looking for useful sources when it comes time to write your paper. Not to mention, if you use a source in your paper that wasnâ€™t in your original annotated bibliography, you just have to go back and add it in amongst all your other annotations.
- Two books or ebooks found using the USF Library resources. You can use individual chapters or articles in the books. The key is to have two books on your annotated bibliography. Big Hint: once you find a source or two, check the works cited pages or bibliographies of those sources; they will often point you to other useful sources. Once you see what sources your sources used, you can go find those same sources for yourself, look them over, and decide how useful they will be for your essay / topic.
- Two articles from academic journals, again — found using the USF Library resources. Databases like ProQuest are a huge help with this. You can also use print versions of academic journals the library subscribes to.
- Two articles published in the last twelve months, found using the USF Libraryâ€™s databases. These can be newspaper articles, more academic journals, magazines, etc. This keeps you current and potentially up-to-the-minute.
- Four floaters. These can be anything you want (including more of the above) except standalone websites (arguments for exceptions to this rule can be made in person if you find a standalone website you think is academically sound and information rich), found using any research strategy you want: the CBS Nightly News, interviews, observations, microfilm, movies, History Channel videos. . .
End Result: ten credible sources, ten bibliographic citations, ten annotations, neatly organized and formatted according to standard APA, heavily revised and edited throughout the weeks that we work on it.