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Citation Guides: Annotated Bibliographies

Formatting papers using APA or MLA styles

Annotated Bibliographies

A bibliography is a list of sources (books, journal articles, Web sites, etc.) that you have consulted in order to write a paper.

An annotated bibliography differs from a standard bibliography. For each source listed you will need to provide descriptive or evaluative comments (i.e., annotations).

INFORMATION TO INCLUDE IN AN ANNOTATION

Depending on your assignment guidelines, you may have to:

  • Describe the content of the source
  • Mention why the source is useful
  • Indicate any strengths or weaknesses of the source
  • Evaluate the overall reliability of the source; you can do this by looking at:
    • The author's conclusions and how he/she arrived at them
    • The references consulted
  • Describe your reaction to the source

FORMAT OF AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY?

Your instructor may have indicated a particular citation style guide to use. If not, consult one of the main citation style guides such as MLA, APA, Chicago or Turabian.

Consult these style guides to format your bibliography correctly.

Most bibliographies organize items alphabetically by the author's last name. Use a citation style guide to determine what information to include for each item. Your annotation should appear right after or below the citation.

 

APA Example

Chrisholm, P. (1996, March 11). The ADD dilemma. Maclean's, 109, 42-44.

This magazine article looks at the use of Ritalin in Canada. Specifically, it covers the drug's side effects, why there is so much debate surrounding its use and how teachers have come to rely on it to control problem students. The article is based on information taken from interviews, statistics and studies that were conducted. Overall, it is well written and well researched.

 

Kirkey, S. (2001, November 27). Jury's still out on Ritalin. The Gazette, A1.

This newspaper article focuses on a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal about the short and long-term effects of using Ritalin. The information comes from a reputable source and is based upon fact. This article was useful for my research as it helped support my idea that Ritalin may not be the answer for treating children with ADD.

Mercogliano, C. (2003). Teaching the restless: One school's remarkable no-Ritalin approach to helping children learn and succeed. Boston: Beacon Press.

Mercogliano describes how depending on medication, such as Ritalin, to treat students with attention deficit disorders may not be the right approach. The book also calls into question how teachers deals with students who have ADD.

 

Chicago Example

Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

Waite, L. J., F. K. Goldscheider, and C. Witsberger. “Nonfamily Living and the Erosion of Traditional Family Orientations Among Young Adults." American          Sociological Review 51 (1986): 541-554.

      The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young     Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief       in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing       the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study       by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of living.

Each annotated bibliography entry should begin by identifying the source in correct Chicago Manual of Style documentation. You will then provide the following: • A brief description of the author's topic, thesis, and methodology. In other words, in what academic discipline does the author locate him/herself (history, literature, social science, women's studies, cultural studies, etc)? What kind of evidence does the author draw upon? • A concise outline of the main points in the text.

MLA Example

Chrisholm, Patricia. "The ADD dilemma." Maclean's 11 Mar. 1996: 42-44. Print. This magazine article looks at the use of Ritalin in Canada. Specifically it covers the drug's side effects, why there is so much debate surrounding its use and how teachers have come to rely on it to control problem students. The article is based on information taken from interviews, statistics and studies that were conducted. Overall, it is well written and well researched.

Notice that the first part of the annotation is descriptive and that the last sentence is a brief evaluation.

Kirkey, Sharon. "Jury's still out on Ritalin." The Gazette 27 Dec. 2001: A1. Print. This newspaper article focuses on a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal about the short and long-term effects of using Ritalin. The information comes from a reputable source and is based upon fact. This article was useful for my research as it helped support my idea that Ritalin may not be the answer for treating children with ADD.

Notice that the first few sentences of the annotation discuss the reliability of the article while the last sentence relates to its usefulness.

Mercogliano, Chris. Teaching the Restless: One School's Remarkable No-Ritalin Approach to Helping Children Learn and Succeed. Boston: Beacon Press, 2003. Print. Mercogliano describes how depending on medication, such as Ritalin, to treat students with attention deficit disorders may not be the right approach. The book also calls into question how teachers deal with students who have ADD.

Notice that this entire annotation is descriptive.