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Annotated Bibliography FAQ


What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations of book, articles, web sites, periodicals, films, videos, and other documents useful in researching your Senior Assignment topic. Each citation is followed by a descriptive and evaluative paragraph (about 150 words). The purpose of the paragraph is to briefly summarize the source and discuss its quality and relevance to your topic.

Why prepare an annotated bibliography?

  1. To learn about your topic (what has been written, when, and by whom)
  2. To help others who want to learn about your topic
  3. To provide examples of sources relevant to your topic
  4. To demonstrate the scope of your research on the topic

How many sources should be included?

You should have approximately 10-12 sources.


What kind of sources should be included?

Emphasis should be placed on sources of substantial scholarly import (books, journal articles, research reports, etc.). Periodicals (magazines and newspapers), movies and videos, and websites (as long as they are reliable sources) are acceptable but should be kept to a reasonable minimum. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, Wikipedia, and textbooks are not acceptable sources except with approval of your supervisor.

What format should be used?

Use Chicago Style unless your supervisor instructs otherwise. Citations and annotations should be double-spaced. Annotations should be in sentence-paragraph form. The order of entries should be alphabetical using the same guidelines as a Reference list at the end of a research paper.

What should the annotations include?

  1. Explanation of the purpose and scope of the cited work
  2. Brief description of format and content
  3. Timeliness of the content
  4. Author's credentials (background and credibility)
  5. Intended audience
  6. Value and contribution to the topic under consideration
  7. Weaknesses or bias in the work
  8. Significant features of the work (glossary, figures, maps, appendices)
  9. Your impression of the work and how it relates to your SA topic (Was it useful? How can you use it? How did it affect your approach to your topic?)


How do I make sure to avoid plagiarism?

Annotations are to be written by you, in your own words. They should reflect your ideas about what you read. You need to be careful about using the words and ideas of others without giving credit, and it is necessary to paraphrase or quote when you use the words or ideas of others.

For more information, consult the following resources:

SIUE policy on plagiarism

The Writer's Handbook: Quoting and Paraphrasing (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Plagiarism: What it is and How to Recognize and Avoid it (Indiana University)

Avoiding Plagiarism (Duke University)

Where can I find more information about evaluating the reliability of internet sources?

Five criteria for evaluating Web pages (Cornell University)

Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask (University of California Berkeley)


Where can I find more information about annotated bibliographies?

The Writing Center, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

The Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (Purdue University)





If you have questions that you think should be added to this FAQ, contact Dr. Michael Grossman, Dr. Gillian Acheson, or Dr. James Hanlon.

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