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FSEMs: Fall 2019 and Spring 2020

This guide is for students enrolled in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 First Year Seminar courses.

What does an Annotated Bibliography do?

Annotated bibliographies help you organize your sources once you have read through them, and determined it they will work for your paper or not. 

A good annotated bibliography:

  1. encourages you to think critically about the content of the works you are using, their place within a field of study, and their relation to your own research and ideas.
  2. proves you have read and understand your sources.
  3. establishes your work as a valid source and you as a competent researcher.
  4. situates your study and topic in a continuing professional conversation.
  5. provides a way for others to decide whether a source will be helpful to their research if they read it.
  6. could help interested researchers determine whether they are interested in a topic by providing background information and an idea of the kind of work going on in a field.

What Elements Might An Annotation Include?

  1. Bibliography according to the appropriate citation style (MLA, APA, CBE/CSE, etc.).
  2. Explanation of main points and/or purpose of the work—basically, its thesis—which shows among other things that you have read and thoroughly understand the source.
  3. Comments on the worth, effectiveness, and usefulness of the work in terms of both the topic being researched and/or your own research project.
  4. The point of view or perspective from which the work was written. For instance, you may note whether the author seemed to have particular biases or was trying to reach a particular audience.

Steps for Writing an Annotated Bibliography

  1. Begin by formatting your citation.
  2. Next, begin the annotation part by briefly explaining what the resource is about. For example, what is the article about? Keep it to 2-4 sentences.
  3. Now is the tricky part. You need to assess and reflect upon the resource. This will be the longest part of your annotation. Focus on answering some of these questions in your annotation:

  • What information does this source contribute to your research question? 
  • Who is the article's intended audience?
  • How does the source relate to other sources in your bibliography?
  • Does the source appear to be biased? If so, how is it biased?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the article?
  • How does the source fit into your topic or research paper? Is it useful? Why is it useful?

Have a question? Ask a librarian! Email libref@stetson.edu. Call or text 386-747-9028.