A bibliography is a list of works (books, articles, films, etc.) on a particular topic. An annotated bibliography includes an entry following each citation that summarizes the work. An annotation can help the reader determine the value of each work on the topic and the contribution it might make to their own research. Two common types of annotated bibliographies are descriptive and critical.
What Is Included in a Descriptive Annotation?
A descriptive annotation may summarize:
What is included in a Critical Annotation?
A critical annotation includes value judgments or comments on the effectiveness of the work. In this context, critical means evaluative and may include both positive and negative comments. A critical annotation may contain the information found in a descriptive annotation and discuss some of the following features:
Be sure to check your assignment guidelines or ask your professor if you are unsure what elements to include in your annotation.
The Purdue Online Writing Lab and Excelsior Online Writing Lab both offer helpful examples of how to format and write an annotated bibliography. Keep in mind that annotated bibliographies may be written in any citation style, so be sure to use the style that your professor recommends.
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