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The Annotated Bibliography


An annotated bibliography is an alphabetical list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation (usually about 150 words).

The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited— in other words, a concise summary of each source and some assessment of its value or relevance.

Ingredients of Your Annotated Bibliography:

  • a brief restatement of the source’s main argument, thesis, or conclusions;
  • an assessment of the value of the source as it relates to your questions (what does it say about my big topic?),
  • commentary on patterns of similarity and dissimilarity between sources, and
  • a well-written concluding sentence that comments on it in any additional, useful way. For example, you might indicate whether it is a useful source, whether or not it contains reliable information; whether the source is biased or objective, what the goal of this source is, or what type of reader/researcher might find this source useful.

Here is a list of some verbs for referring to texts and ideas that you might find useful:

account for clarify describe exemplify indicate question
analyze compare depict exhibit investigate recognize
argue conclude determine explain judge reflect
assess criticize distinguish frame justify refer to
assert defend evaluate identify narrate report
assume define emphasize illustrate persuade review
claim demonstrate examine imply propose suggest
The article questions the view that . . .
This poem demonstrates  . . .
The author identifies three reasons for . . .In contrast to essay X, this novel proposes that…Just as poem A illustrates…., poem B reflects the viewpoint that…
  • Click here to see definitions of the above verbs.
  • Click here to view a sample ABE for “The Lottery.”
  • Click here to view the sample ABE for “The Child-Driven Education.”
  • Click here to see a sample entry for the poem “My Papa’s Waltz.” You can also see how I reduced wordiness by choosing more accurate terms and eliminating repetition.
  • Click here for sample ABEs, plus templates, for the Ali speech, the sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, the short story “The Bet” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” These are the templates you should use to begin writing your own ABEs!
  • Click here to view the rubric for ABE grades at the end of the semester.

Remember not to use the templates like a fill-in-the-blank worksheet— the idea is just to get you started. You will have to change the sentence structure, the verbs, and the ideas to suit your writing style and, of course, to suit the literary selection you are writing about.

Various kinds of annotated bibliographies:

Annotated bibliographies come in many variations. Pay close attention to the requirements of the Collection annotated bibliography guidelines

Consider organizing your bibliography in sections—according to genre, time period, treatment of the topic, or any other system you think makes sense. Your categories of organization should help users find what they need.

Need more help with annotating? Try these websites:

For help with MLA style and bibliographical entries, try the following:

Eliminating Wordiness- Please read carefully and try the exercises!

Due dates (note: during this time I will ask you to look at the rubric for the blog and make sure you are adding in features that will fulfill those requirements):

Wednesday June 1: 15 ABEs on blog

Tuesday June 7: 20 ABE’s on blog

Wednesday June 8: 23 ABE’s on blog

Thursday and Friday June 9 and 10: Fill out final checklist (provided by teacher) and show blog to class

Thursday June 9: Share blog with five other people NOT in this class (there will be specific requirements for this)

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