Writing Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography

Definition – An annotated bibliography is a descriptive and evaluative list of citations for books, articles, or other documents. Each citation is followed by a brief paragraph – the annotation – alerting the reader to the accuracy, quality, and relevance of that source.

Elements of the Annotation:

  • Author information:
    Who is the author? What is her/his background? Is the author qualified to write this document?
  • Author’s purpose:
    What is the author’s purpose in writing this article or doing this research? Is the purpose stated or implied? Does the author have a particular message?
  • Audience information:
    To what audience is the author writing (scholars, teachers, the general public, etc.)? Is this reflected in the author’s style of writing or presentation?
  • Author bias:
    Does the author show any biases or make assumptions upon which the rationale of the article rests? If so, what are they?
  • Information source:
    What methods did the author use to obtain the data? Is the article based on personal opinion, experience, interviews, library research, questionnaires, laboratory experiments, empirical observation, or standardized personality tests?
  • Author conclusion:
    What conclusions does the author draw? Are these conclusions specifically stated or implied?
  • Conclusion justification:
    Are the conclusions justified from the research or experience? Are the conclusions in sync with the original purpose of the research and supported by the data? Are the conclusions skewed by bias?
  • Relationship to other works:
    How does this work compare with others cited? Does it conflict with conventional wisdom, established scholarship, government policy, etc.? Are there specific studies or writings cited with which this one agrees or disagrees? Are there any opinions not cited of which readers should be aware? Is the evidence balanced or weighted in favor of a particular perspective?
  • Time frame:
    Is the work current? Is this important? How does the time in which it was written reflect on the information contained in this work?
  • Significant attachments:
    Are there significant attachments such as appendices, bibliographies, illustrations, etc.? Are they valuable or not? If there are none, should there be?

Annotated Bibliography

“Editorial: Tobacco tax hike will save lives.” The Sacramento Bee. 22 April 2012. E6.


Within this editorial, the intention of the Editorial Board of the Sacramento Bee is to enlighten the public that with the passage of Proposition 29, a $1 per pack tax raise on cigarettes, smokers will be discouraged from smoking and lives will be saved.  It is articulated that the passage of this proposition will be a major breakthrough for public health.  This article is biased, which is shown by the fact that the only positive aspect expressed by this editorial is that the passage of Proposition 29 will save lives. This one fact does not evaluate specific details of the proposition. The Bee only skims the surface of the other perspectives on this initiative, and not very many details are included.

This work compares differently from others that touch on the same subject due to the fact that is it fairly biased.  Even though this is a very current issue among the public, more information is needed to support their work.  The article is a narrative story that is meant to make an emotional appeal to readers, nothing more.  For my work this editorial did have valuable information, but because it was so focused on one perspective of the issue it was hard to grasp a full understanding of the proposition.  A fuller explanation of  alternative perspectives on this topic would have helped readers understand the proposition without trying to persuade them.

— Created with information from Carleton College and the Purdue OWL