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Annotated Bibliography (Wayne College): Steps & Elements

Purpose of an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography may serve a number of purposes, including but not limited to:

  • Review the literature on a particular subject.
  • Illustrate the quality of research that you have performed.
  • Provide examples of the types of sources available.
  • Describe other items on a topic that may be of interest to the reader.
  • Explore the subject for further research.

Steps in Creating an Annotated Bibliography

When creating your Annotated Bibliography follow these steps:

1. Collect your resources.

2. Record your citations.  Check with your professor to find out how to format your annotated bibliography (e.g. MLA, APA, etc.).

3. Take notes on the scope and summary of  your sources.

4. Research the author's background and take notes.

5. Arrange and organize your list reflecting your instructor's requirements:

  • Alphabetical by author's last name.
  • Chronological either by date, or by period subject (century, decade or year).
  • By Subtopic.
  • By Format (articles, books, websites).

Elements of an Annotated Bibliography

After each citation you should write a 100-150 word paragraph in third person.

The elements include:

  • Qualifications of the author(s)
    •  Degrees, experience, member on special boards or commissions.
  • Purpose or scope
    •  What is the source about?
  • Evaluate your source
    • Strength, weakness, or biases of the source.
  •  Intended audiences or level of reading
    •  High school, undergraduate, graduate students, professionals, or the general public.
  • Relationship to other works
    •  Compare and contrast your sources.
  • Any findings or results
    • Results of  relevant scientific studies.
  • Any special features that make the source special
    • Reference lists, maps, timelines, pictures etc..