What is an Annotated Bibliography and how do I create one?
For each of your sources, you should provide the bibliographic information (MLA style) and then a brief summary/evaluation of its usefulness/relevancy for your project (maximum 200 words per source).
Here are some thoughts to get you started:
1. Make sure your annotated bibliography is single-spaced (including the citations), with a space between each citation and its annotation, and another space between different entries.
2. The citations should be alphabetized, have hanging indents, and they should be in complete/accurate in MLA format (just like a Works Cited page).
3. Just like for the proposal, here don’t use the 1st or 2nd person. Your annotations should be formal/impersonal. Therefore, avoid statements like “This source will be useful to my project because … .” Instead, just state its usefulness directly (without mention of you or your project).
4. Write in the present tense when describing your sources.
5. Remember that these sources are both informative and critical/evaluative. When you give the summary, present the main idea of the source without getting bogged down with too many specific/technical details about its content (this can be overwhelming for your readers). Similarly, don’t let the summary take up your whole annotation. In addition to just objectively presenting what the source is about, you need to critically evaluate your source (subjectively) as to its usefulness/relevancy, bias, credibility, etc.
6. Therefore, think about the “so what?” question with sources too. Consider how certain sources contribute (are they factual, personal, etc.) to your project. Where do they come from (are they organizations, individual researchers, newspapers, politicians, etc.)? You need to synthesize your findings as much as possible.
7. As with the proposals, make sure you connect your thoughts in the annotations (use connections/transitions … don’t just list choppy/fragmented points/details about the source). Also, make sure you don’t simply tack on at the end statements addressing the different points I ask you to think about (usefulness, bias, etc.) like a checklist without any inherent unity/coherence. You should include a discussion of these aspects when they are important for a particular source, and you should integrate this evaluation into your annotation as a whole.
8. You can include more than the minimum requirement of sources in your bibliography, and you should feel free to modify your bibliography/sources (add, delete, revise) until the final draft is due. You also don’t have to use all of these initial sources in the final project (you can have both a “Works Cited” section and a “Works Consulted” section)
To start creating your annotation for each text, you should:
- Provide a complete/accurate MLA citation
- Summarize the reading in a few sentences
- Below your summary, include any questions/concerns you have about the reading (such as if you do not understand a particular paragraph or sentence, or if you are confused because you think that the text contradicts itself in different places): be as specific as possible! (In the final draft, these questions/concerns will be removed and you provide a brief evaluation of the source and state its usefulness for your own project)
Here is a good resource on annotated bibliographies:
What type of sources do I use?
While I expect that you will consult many, many more sources, you must incorporate a minimum of six sources in your research project (beyond your fieldwork: surveys, observations, interviews). Make sure that you use a variety of resources, and try to have sources from the following categories (and use current/up-to-date information when relevant):
- Recent scholarly books in print: chapters and/or excerpts are acceptable
- Recent scholarly articles found in online journals through the City Tech (and/or CUNY) Library databases
- Recent texts (articles, essays, editorials, interviews, etc.) from other non-book print sources (newspapers, magazines, etc.)
- Texts (articles, essays, editorials, interviews) from reliable online sources (this means you must know where there information is coming from and if it is accurate/reliable!)
- Media (advertisements, cartoons, artwork, TV shows, films, music, etc.)
- Other (ex: fiction, interviews, surveys, etc.)
Make sure to keep track of all bibliographic information as you do your research (citations should be in MLA style). Also, check out the bibliography/references of the sources you use … looking over what sources other researchers have used is a great way to find additional relevant material for your own project.
*This site has some helpful information on evaluating print sources:
And here’s one on evaluating WWW sources: http://mason.gmu.edu/~montecin/web-eval-sites.htm
If you are uncertain about the “reliability” of a source, you should consult me, a librarian, or the Learning Center. Our class library session on Tu 11/26 will also help you with finding/evaluating sources.
*There will be peer review and in-class workshops on Annotated Bibliographies in various stages
*Here are some sample Annotated Bibliographies (to be posted soon)