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MLA annotated bibliography

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An annotated bibliography is a list containing complete information of sources, such as journals, books, and reports, cited in the text, along with a note or annotation for each source. It provides a brief description of each source in about 100–150 words.

Objective of an annotated bibliography

An annotated bibliography can explain the topics covered in the source or evaluate the source. The main objective of giving the annotation is to provide the reader the importance, accuracy, and value of the source. When you add an annotation, do not try to cite evidence, talk about unnecessary points, or quote the author.

Types of annotations

Annotations are of two types:

Summary annotation

Evaluative annotation

Summary annotation

A summary annotation provides critical information about the source or a description of it. Summary annotations explain the purpose and the topics covered in the source.

Evaluative annotation

An evaluative annotation, as the name implies, evaluates a source. It examines a source and reveals its quality by evaluating its accuracy. It also recommends the relevance of the source. Additionally, it compares the source with other sources covering the same area. It may even include the advantages and disadvantages of a study.

General rules for creating an annotated bibliography

The annotation is given after the source entry.

Create annotation for each source in about 100–150 words.

The annotation, in general, should be written as phrases. However, they can be complete sentences too.

In general, the annotation of each source runs only for one paragraph. However, if multiple paragraphs are included, indent the second and subsequent paragraphs without any extra line space between them.

Components of an annotated bibliography

An annotated bibliography consists of two parts:

The citation

The annotation

Citation

The citation includes all possible elements of a source so as to enable the reader to locate the source easily. For example, the name of the author, title of the book, publisher, and publication date are essential basic elements to cite a book.

Morritt, Robert D. Beringia: Archaic Migrations into North America. Cambridge Scholars Pub, 2011.

Annotation

The annotation provides all basic information about the source. The information can be descriptive or evaluative.

Descriptive annotation

Gives a summary of all relevant details about the source.

The author studies the migration of cultures from Asia to North America. The connection between the North American Athabaskan language family and Siberia is presented together with comparisons and examinations of the implications of linguistics from anthropological, archaeological, and folklore perspectives. This book explores the origins of the earliest people in the Americas, including Siberian, Dene, and Navajo Creation myths, linguistic comparisons between Siberian Ket Navajo and Western Apache, and comparisons between indigenous groups that appear to share the same origin.

Evaluative annotation

Reflects the author’s view, shows the relevance of the paper, and provides an evaluation of the paper.

In this book, Barbara Ehrenreich shows how harmful the positive thinking movement is, how it means self-blame, victim-blaming, and national denial, inviting disaster. She shows that it wrecks efforts for education, skills, and reforms.

The book analyzes how the school of mindless optimism was born, fed the subprime scandal, and has come to infect mainstream corporate management thinking. Anyone who has sat through a toe-curling session by a motivational speaker at a company off-site will chuckle in recognition.

Arranging annotated bibliographies

Arrange your annotated bibliography entries in alphabetical order similar to how you would order entries in the works-cited list.

The order of the bibliography can be arranged according to the author, title, publication date, or subject.

Formatting the annotated bibliography

Set the left, right, top, and bottom margins as 1 inch.

Write the running head in the top right of the page at 0.5 inches from the top. Use the running head “Surname Page #.”

Title the page “Annotated Bibliography” or “Annotated List of Works Cited.” Use the former title if you also include sources in the list that are not included in your in-text citations.

The title should be aligned to the center of the page.

Write the title in bold.

Use Times New Roman font of size 12 points.

If any entry runs over more than a line, indent the subsequent lines 0.5 inches from the left margin.

The annotation is indented 1 inch from the start of the entry, that is, 0.5 inches from the hanging indent of the entries that run more than a line.

Give double-line spacing.

Example annotated bibliography

The below are examples of an annotated bibliography:

Annotated Bibliography

Morritt, Robert D. Beringia: Archaic Migrations into North America. Cambridge Scholars Pub, 2011.

The author studies the migration of cultures from Asia to North America. The connection between the North American Athabaskan language family and Siberia is presented together with comparisons and examinations of the implications of linguistics from anthropological, archaeological, and folklore perspectives. This book explores the origins of the earliest people in the Americas, including Siberian, Dene, and Navajo Creation myths; linguistic comparisons between Siberian Ket Navajo and Western Apache; and comparisons between indigenous groups that appear to share the same origin.

Ehrenreich, Barbara. Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America. Metropolitan Books, 2009.

In this book, Barbara Ehrenreich shows how harmful the positive thinking movement is, how it means self-blame, victim-blaming, and national denial, inviting disaster. She shows that it wrecks efforts for education, skills, and reforms.

The book analyzes how the school of mindless optimism was born, fed the subprime scandal, and has come to infect mainstream corporate management thinking. Anyone who has sat through a toe-curling session by a motivational speaker at a company off-site will chuckle in recognition.

Key takeaways

An annotated bibliography can explain the topics covered in the source or evaluate it.

Summary annotation and evaluative annotation are two different types of annotations.

The order of the bibliography can be arranged according to the author, title, publication date, or subject.

Title the page “Annotated Bibliography” or “Annotated List of Works Cited.”

Annotations for each source should not exceed 100–150 words.


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