Annotated Bibliographies -
What are they and why are they used for…..
H. Stephen McMinn, Biology Subject Librarian
Abstract vs. Annotated Bibliography
The Abstract --
A summary of a work’s content
Like all summaries, abstracts cover the
main points of a piece of writing
Abstracts help you decide whether an
article is relevant for your purposes
The Annotated Bibliography
A list of sources that provides publication
information and a short description of each
source called an annotation
Some annotations merely describe the
content and scope of the source
Others evaluate the source’s authority,
currency, and relevance to a researcher’s
What is an Annotation?
A descriptive summary or explanation of
Provides information about the content
of the material
Provides an evaluation or critique of a
resource (an evaluative summary)
Why Write an Annotation?
Purpose of writing an annotation:
– Show that you’ve done thorough research
– Provide additional information to make it easier to
use the bibliography
– Get a better sense of the “scholarship” on the
– Provide the reader with enough information to
know whether they want to look at the resource for
their own research
Things to include in an
Summary of: Purpose, arguments and
Description of what is included in the
material - some specifics
Evaluation and critique of its relevance
to the research project at hand
Use complete sentences. Keep them in the
same present verb tense.
Use your own ideas, words and sentences.
Do not simply quote the author.
Each annotation should be 3 to 5 sentences
long. But sometimes it will be necessary to
provide more than this.
Give a description of what the resource is
Books/Book Chapters -- Where to
get information for annotations
Read, review and thoroughly examine the book or
– read the book, the introduction, the preface, the
chapter titles and the summaries.
– If you can’t read the entire book, read the chapters
that are relevant to your research.
– Make note of additional items such as graphics,
pictures, charts, index, works cited list, and notes.
Articles -- Where to Get
Information for annotations
Read, review and thoroughly examine the article.
– Read the entire article.
– Make special note of the introductions to the article
and the conclusions or summaries drawn.
– Do not simply quote the summary or abstract provided
at the beginning of scholarly journal articles.
– Decide whether the additional information provided,
such as images, and graphs, are useful in supporting
Article - Example
Erinosho, Stella Y. “The Making of Nigerian Women
Scientists and Technologists,” Journal of
Career Development 24.1 (1991) : 71-80.
Women in Nigerian universities represented only 17%
of scientific-related enrollees in 1984 & 1988
respectively. The purpose of this survey was to
determine what some of the factors are that reinforce
women’s desire for and success in the sciences in
Nigeria. Provides biographic portraits of a few
successful Nigerian women. Includes survey data with
responses from 209 of 520 Nigerian women in science
and technology professions and university
Book -- Example
Irukwu, Enoh Etuk. Footprints: The Evolution of the
Nigerian Woman. Lagos, Nigeria: Talkback
Publishers Limited, 1994.
This book provides an overview and examination from
the beginning of Nigerian independence in 1960. Offers
a brief examination of some historical moments wherein
Nigerian women came to the fore. Sets the tone for
Nigerian women’s progression since independence and
situates their role in the development of the entire
Another Book Example
Nwankwo, Nkechi. Gender Equality in Nigerian Politics.
Lagos, Nigeria: Deutchetz Publishers, 1996.
Being the editor of Sunday Champion and holding a
master’s degree in mass communications provides the
author with a good foundation for examining the role of
the mass media in hindering and potentially enabling
Nigerian women’s participation in politics. Examines
obstacles to women’s power, representation, and
participation in the media. The author utilizes the
example of Norway for examining strategies for
increasing women’s participation in politics.