What Is An Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books,  articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief paragraph  called the “annotation.” The purpose of the annotation is to inform the  reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

There are two types of annotated bibliographies. The  “descriptive” annotated bibliography summarizes a source, describes why  it is useful for researching a particular topic or question, and  describes the author’s main arguments and conclusions. The “analytical”  annotated bibliography includes the same elements, but it also analyzes  what is written or argued. It critically examines the strengths and  weaknesses of the author’s argument and conclusions.

This assignment will require you to research and write an analytical annotated bibliography. You  cannot use sources that are in our course materials – you must seek  outside references. Your annotated bibliography will include  bibliographic entries AND a narrative explanation of the source and how  it will be used to answer your research question. Wikipedia,,, and any online sources that do not contain source  citations and author information are not allowed as sources for this  assignment. These are sites for the general population and not  considered appropriate for college-level work. Do not use them.

Assignment Instructions

For this assignment, you will do a search of UMUC’s databases for five (5) articles in scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals on your chosen topicEach citation should be between 250-300 words each. For help with this you should review this source from the UMUC Writing Center:  You can also utilize the “Chat with a Librarian” feature. In the top  menu under “Resources” click on “Library” and you should see the “Chat  with a Librarian” feature on the right.

Select a topic that will form the basis for your  Annotated Bibliography and Annotated Webliography (your Annotated  Webliography is due in Week 7)You should choose some topic that deals with some aspect of world history to 1500.  This covers a broad area so you can use your imagination. For example,  you could cover Egyptian Agriculture, medieval weaponry, or Roman  aqueducts to name a few. If you are unsure whether your topic is  acceptable, you should run it by your instructor for approval.  

Provide a complete citation for the site, including the URL and your date of accessNote that the required citation style is Chicago Manual of Style.  For an example of what elements to include in your citation, go to  Course Content and review the Brief Primer to Citing Sources in Chicago  Humanities Style (B=bibliography). In the Sample Citations section, look  under Online Journal Articles and note that you need to provide the  name of the database you found the article in and your date of access.

Analytical Annotated Bibliography Components:

1. Begin each annotated bibliography entry by identifying the source in correct Chicago Manual of Style documentation.

2. A brief description of the author’s topic, thesis, and  methodology. In other words, in what academic discipline does the work  fall in (history, literature, social science, women’s studies, cultural  studies, etc.)? What kind of evidence does the author draw upon?

3. A concise outline of the main points in the text.

4. A statement about the author’s goals and his/her intended audience. Are there any clear biases?

5. MOST IMPORTANTLY–Your critical evaluation of the text’s  usefulness for the investigation of your topic. What are the strengths  of the source? What are the deficiencies or limitations of the source?

6. Did the article help you to further understand the  topic? If so, explain how. If not, explain what information might have  been helpful.

7. Explain how each of your sources compares to the others.  Are there any general trends you see in your selected books and  articles?

There are numerous websites that will show you how to  construct an annotated bibliography. UMUC also has a guide to writing an  annotated bibliography (requires Flash Player to view the video)

If your article has an abstract DO NOT CUT AND PASTE IT AND  SUBMIT IT. That is plagiarism and will result in an investigation of  your paper for a possible violation of the university’s academic  integrity policy. Read the article and do your own summary.

This assignment can be time consuming so do not let it get  away from you. If you have any questions please email your instructor  sooner rather than later. The grading rubric for the Annotated  Bibliography is available in the module labeled “Rubrics”. You will find  a sample Annotated Bibliography in the module labeled “Sample  Assignments.” You may not use the articles from the sample.  Additionally, the sample assignment is meant as a guideline as to what  an ‘A’ paper is and is not intended to be a ‘perfect’ assignment.

You will find a copy of the scoring rubric under the  Discussion and Assignment Scoring Rubrics module under the Table of  Contents. If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to  ask. You have three ways to do this: 1) Post a question in this week’s  discussion; 2) Post a question in the Ask the Professor module; or 3)  Directly email your instructor.

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