An annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of your sources. Depending on your project or the assignment, your annotations may do one or more of the following:
- Summarize: Some annotations merely summarize the
source. What are the main arguments? What is the point of this book or
article? What topics are covered? If someone asked what this
article/book is about, what would you say? The length of your
annotations will determine how detailed your summary is.
- Assess: After summarizing a source, it may be
helpful to evaluate it. Is it a useful source? How does it compare with
other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable? Is this
source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source?
- Reflect: Once you've summarized and assessed a
source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. Was this source
helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you
use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think
about your topic?
Your annotated bibliography may include some of these, all of these,
or even others. If you're doing this for a class, you should get
specific guidelines from your instructor.
See the following link from Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) for more information and some samples: