Interested readers may want to find out if it is worth reading a specific source within your chosen area. Your annotated bibliography will provide useful information for them to judge what sources would be most and least relevant. Others may find the information useful because it provides a broad overview of the level of debate presented within a topic area. Further, you may find that the annotated bibliography offers valuable information to develop a literature review or even an essay.
What goes into the content of the annotations?
Below are some of the most common forms of annotated bibliographies. Click on the links to see examples of each.
This form of annotation defines the scope of the source, lists the significant topics included, and tells what the source is about.
This type is different from the informative entry in that the informative entry gives actual information about its source.
In the indicative entry there is no attempt to give actual data such as hypotheses, proofs, etc. Generally, only topics or chapter titles are included.
Indicative (descriptive--tell us what is included in the source)
Griffin, C. Williams, ed. (1982). Teaching writing in all disciplines. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Ten essays on writing-across-the-curriculum programs,teaching writing in disciplines other than English, andteaching techniques for using writing as learning. Essaysinclude Toby Fulwiler, "Writing: An Act of Cognition";Barbara King, "Using Writing in the Mathematics Class:Theory and Pratice"; Dean Drenk, "Teaching Finance ThroughWriting"; Elaine P. Maimon, "Writing Across the Curriculum:Past, Present, and Future."
Simply put, this form of annotation is a summary of the source.
To write it, begin by writing the thesis; then develop it with the argument or hypothesis, list the proofs, and state the conclusion.
In this form of annotation you need to assess the source's strengths and weaknesses.
You get to say why the source is interesting or helpful to you, or why it is not. In doing this you should list what kind of and how much information is given; in short, evaluate the source's usefulness.
Evaluative (tell us what you think of the source)
Gurko, Leo. (1968). Ernest Hemingway and the pursuit of heroism. New York: Crowell. This book is part of a series called "Twentieth Century American Writers": a brief introduction to the man and his work. After fifty pages of straight biography, Gurkodiscussed Hemingway's writing, novel by novel. There's anindex and a short bibliography, but no notes. Thebiographical part is clear and easy to read, but it soundstoo much like a summary.
Hingley, Ronald. (1950). Chekhov: A biographical and critical study. London: George Allen & Unwin. A very good biography. A unique feature of this book is theappendix, which has a chronological listing of all Englishtranslations of Chekhov's short stories.
Most annotated bibliographies are of this type.
They contain one or two sentences summarizing or describing content and one or two sentences providing an evaluation.
Morris, Joyce M. (1959). Reading in the primary school: An investigation into standards of reading and their association with primary school characteristics. London: Newnes, for National Foundation for Educational Research. Report of a large-scale investigation into Englishchildren's reading standards, and their relation toconditions such as size of classes, types of organisationand methods of teaching. Based on enquiries in sixtyschools in Kent and covering 8,000 children learning toread English as their mother tongue. Notable forthoroughness of research techniques.