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Annotated Bibliography

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

 

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

 

Annotations VS. Abstracts

Abstracts are the purely descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles or in periodical indexes. Annotations are descriptive and critical; they may describe the author's point of view, authority, or clarity and appropriateness of expression.

The Process

Creating an annotated bibliography calls for the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research.
 

First, locate and record citations to books, periodicals, and documents that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic. Briefly examine and review the actual items. Then choose those works that provide a variety of perspectives on your topic.
 

Cite the book, article, or document using the appropriate style.
 

Write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article. Include one or more sentences that (a) evaluate the authority or background of the author, (b) comment on the intended audience, (c) compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or (d) explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic.

Sample Annotation in APA

Belcher, D. D. (2004). Trends in teaching English for specific purposes. Annual Review of Applied
     Linguistics, 24
(3), 165-186. doi: 10.1017/S026719050400008X.

This article reviews differing English for Specific Purposes (ESP) trends in practice and in theory. Belcher categorizes the trends into three non-exclusive sects: sociodiscoursal, sociocultural, and sociopolitical. Sociodiscoursal, she postulates, is difficult to distinguish from genre analysis because many of the major players (e.g., Ann Johns) tend to research and write in favor of both disciplines. Belcher acknowledges the preconceived shortcomings of ESP in general, including its emphasis on “narrowly-defined venues” (p. 165), its tendency to “help learners fit into, rather than contest, existing…structures” (p. 166), and its supposed “cookie-cutter” approach. In response to these common apprehensions about ESP, Belcher cites the New Rhetoric Movement and the Sydney School as two institutions that have influenced progressive changes and given more depth to “genre” (p. 167). She concludes these two schools of thought address the issue of ESP pandering to “monologic” communities. Corpus linguistics is also a discipline that is expanding the knowledge base of ESP practitioners in order to improve instruction in content-specific areas. Ultimately, she agrees with Swales (1996) that most genres that could help ESL learners are “hidden…or poorly taught” (p. 167) and the field of genre is only beginning to grasp the multitude of complexities within this potentially valuable approach to the instruction of language—and in turn, writing.

This article provides examples as well as expert opinion that I can use in my project. I have long believed that ESL pedagogy is troubled by tendencies towards xenophobia and this article validates my concerns while also providing me with evidence to support my claims about the current disciplines in ESL studies. As I pursue a career in teaching ESL, I can use this information to help me choose the right coursework in my graduate studies. I can also let this guide who I become as a teacher and what I prioritize.

Guide Attribution

Some of the content for this guide page was created by:

Olin Library Reference
Research & Learning Services
Cornell University Library
Ithaca, NY, USA

We have received permission from Olin Library Reference to reproduce it and adapt the content for our own use.