Annotated Bibliography Example – Teaching American History – Revised: 07/10/08 Page 1 of 3
Annotated Bibliography Example
Guidelines for Annotated Bibliography
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 expose the author's point of view,
clarity and appropriateness of expression, and authority.
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 (usually about 150 words) 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
Below are some suggestions in helping you write your annotated bibliography. This document will be
posted on the web and part of your yearlong project. It covers an overview of recent (since 1990)
scholarship on the topic you have selected and it deals with primary, secondary, and other resources
which have been useful to you over the past year. Classroom books will be useful as well. Thus providing
your commentary and insights it becomes more valuable to fellow teachers who may use the material or
modify the material. In the suggestions area I have listed important elements that should go into your
comments. Thus you have provided a “value added” beyond simply a list. Your valuable experience as a
classroom teacher helps to make American history more meaningful in engaging both your students, to
other teachers and students who have seen your work on the web. So in that spirit of cooperation and high
standards, I offer this model to you. Your list will be more extensive. I have simply listed some of the
types you will encounter in putting together your list.
Suggestions for Writing Annotations
What is the resource about? Is it relevant to your research?
Purpose What is it for? Why was the book or article written?
What does it do for your research?
Reliability Is the information accurate? Do other sources support the conclusions?
Authority Is it written by someone who has the expertise to author the information?
What are the author’s credentials?
Is it new? Is it up-to-date for the topic?
Ease of use Can a “real person” use this resource? What is the reading level of the resource?