Library Media Specialist
Palisades High School
What is an annotated
An annotated bibliography goes beyond a
traditional Works Cited page.
In addition to properly citing your sources in the
citation format preferred by your teacher, a
150-250 word paragraph follows.
In that paragraph, you summarize the source
and justify your selection of this source by
evaluating its relevance and authority and its
unique value to your research.
When do you create your
It is preferred that you annotate your bibliography
when you are initiating your research.
This will help you:
Assess the purpose that each resource will hold for
Determine how the various resources will support
each other to assist your thesis
Identify redundant resources
Determine that the resources that you have
selected are of top-notch quality
Ultimately, to provide focus during research.
When to stop annotating
You will want to find out from your teacher or
professor whether you must annotate ALL sources
within your bibliography.
They may exempt you from the requirement of
annotating additional sources once you submit a
certain required number of annotated sources or
pass a certain deadline for submission.
If you are exempt at any point and, as a result, have
a mixture of both annotated and non-annotated
sources, you will want to find out from them how to
submit your final Works Cited (will your instructor want
them presented alphabetically in one grouping or
will they prefer you to separate the annotated
resources from the non-annotated resources?)
What will it
written by PHS
Viall, uses MLA
may want to
example in full-
An Idea…and two warnings
search for more examples on the web! There
are great examples out there!!!!
DO NOT only summarize your source – there
must be more to your annotation than a
DO NOT copy an abstract/summary provided –
that is considered plagiarism.
We list summary as the first portion
of the annotation.
However, as a writer, you can
choose to place it anywhere within
the annotation that it flows best!
Focus upon summarizing only the content that
most helps your research (avoid re-listing
everything within the table of contents unless you
are in middle school and just “getting your feet
wet” with annotations).
You do not need to identify contents within the
resource that are “unnecessarily extraneous” to
your research (with information that does not
apply to your focus.)
The ideal length is two sentences of summary,
In this area you have three types of
connections that you can make:
• Connections to subtopics
• Identification of unique
attributes of each source type
• Interconnectedness of resources
Your source should connect to your outline:
Is your source especially useful to one sub-
topic within your outline? Did you use it
heavily to support one specific area within
You will want to specify, through the
annotation, which specific area of your
research your source was especially useful
Your source may add balance in terms of the author’s
an important cultural perspective
a differing political perspective
a selected (or non-selected) military choice
a religious perspective
If you have selected a source which provides a unique and
important perspective, you will want to mention that in the
Maybe you have accessed a news report from another
country which enlightens your understanding.
If you feel it is biased, yet still useful, be sure to mention that in
your annotation. Discuss how it is a limitation and how you will
balance the bias with an additional resource and identify
which resource it is that will provide that balance.
Your source may add balance in terms of
Primary sources will give you a unique, first-hand,
perspective. In a primary source document, the tone
may be very persuasive or somewhat passive or the
vocabulary used may be important.
A quality Secondary source may provide more thorough
analytical perspectives. Maybe generations have
passed, allowing for long-term analysis.
A scholarly journal is a secondary source which often
communicates research findings within a particular field
If the type of source that you have selected is especially
pertinent to its value to your research, you will want to
mention that in the annotation.
Another way your source may add balance
in terms of source type:
Is your source an extremely quantitative source
(providing statistics or other data) which provides
a numeric framework to your reader?
Maybe your source is heavily qualitative (which
has surveyed people for their opinions, feelings, or
If you have selected a heavily quantitative or
qualitative source, you will want to make mention
of this value to your research.
If you were to essentially “lay your sources all
out on a table” how is your source unique in
comparison to the others that you are
consulting? You may compare/contrast to
other resources within your bibliography.
For example, “This study performed by Stephens
analyzes high school dropouts’ socioeconomic
status while the study that will be referenced
authored by Hardin analyzes the effects of
blended learning on student achievement and
Upon analysis of your sources in comparison to each other,
you may find that you have selected “redundant sources”
For example, if you have selected two resources about Child
Development, you must be able to identify how aspects from
each will support your research in ways that are different from
Maybe you are using direct quotes from both of the
resources that are vital to your argument?
You must be able to justify the use of both resources (if you
cannot, you may need to dump one of the resources)
In this area you will justify why
you believe that this resource
has been provided to you by a
knowledgeable source and its
copyright date is appropriate.
Source Quality and Authority
You will most likely need to conduct a web search
to gather biographical information on the
author(s) or the organization and its mission.
What are their major accomplishments (in relation
to your research focus)?
What is the author’s perspective, based upon their
job title (would they be providing a business
perspective, an educator’s perspective, an
historian’s perspective, etc.?) How does their
perspective provide unique insight to your
Quality & Reliability of source
Has your source been printed in a highly
respected journal? If so, identify its title
within the annotation.
Was your source part of a nationally
renowned study or survey? If so, identify it
within the annotation.
Copyright of Source
The copyright is a really easy way for a teacher or professor to make a
quick judgment about your research.
Are your copyright dates current (ideally within the last five years
but no older than the last 10)?
Do you need to justify the inclusion of an older copyright date?
Is this a classic work which enlightens your reader on the origin of
your topic (not the history, but the origin of intellectual recognition
of your topic)?
Be aware of your copyright dates and be sure to be able to
proactively defend each older copyright date through your annotated
You must follow the
for whichever style your
teacher or professor prefers.
Link here for citation style help from Purdue
There is more than spelling and
grammar to consider when
your teacher or professor
grades your writing.
Getting the ideas out first
You can start with a “sloppy copy” to get
your ideas out, but remember to clean up
the formality, word choice, sentence
beginnings, etc. prior to turning in your
Formal or Informal?
It is up to your teacher. Some are bothered
by the usage of informal words such as my/I,
or you/your while others are not. Did you
notice that our example on the previous slide
used the word my?
Check with your teacher to find out what
they prefer. While you may naturally write
using informal language, it is typically easy to
take out these informal words during the
editing process without any need for major
Beyond Spelling and
In addition to proper spelling, grammar, and
punctuation, you want to be sure to write
using sophisticated language.
Be cautious to start your sentences using
varied language/sentence beginnings.
Use proper terminology, throughout.
Recognize that writing is another area where
your teacher is likely able to make a quick
judgment about your work and make sure
that they will be making a positive judgment.
By justifying the importance of
each source, you are:
Letting your teacher know that you are not a
Letting your teacher know that you
intentionally and systematically conducted
Identifying that the resources you carefully
selected truly enhance your unique thesis
There are really good resources on
YouTube and SlideShare describing how
to create an annotated bibliography.
Read over your work and compare your
annotations to your rubric, if you were
given one. Here is the link to our rubric.
You can do it!
…and you can
do it WELL