Wilkes University

ENT 398 Business Bootcamp: Annotated Bibliography

Research Guide for ENT 398

What is an annotated bibliography?

According to Cornell University, "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 cited." 

A citation can be defined as a reference to a book, article, or other material that contains all of the publication information necessary to identify and locate that work.  This usually includes the title of a the work used,  the author/editor, publisher, date of publication, volume, issue number, URL, etc.

A bibliography is a list of references (i.e., citations) of sources that were referred to in the creation of a particular work or suggestions for further reading.  They citations may or may not be utilized in creating the work itself.

Annotated bibliographies may be descriptive or critical in nature.  A descriptive annotation simply summarizes the main points of the article.  A critical annotation addresses the strengths and weaknesses of the work being evaluated.  

So what's the point?

There are several possible purposes to writing an annotated bibliography, which may include:

-a literature review of a specific topic

-examples of the different types of information sources available on a particular subject

-an indication of the quality of the research that was completed

-illustrates other related topics that may be of interest

-creates a foundation for additional research

-may aide in developing a thesis

Writing a critical annotated bibliography

When creating a critical annotation of a work to include in an annotated bibliography, there are several areas that you may want to include.  A descriptive summary of the work as a whole should always be included, however the following areas may also be beneficial to discuss (please note that not every area needs to be addressed in each annotation):

-The credentials of the author(s)

-The intended audience

-The presence of any bias

-The limitations/shortcomings of the work

-How it compares to other works of a similar nature

-The significance of the work

-Other important features, such an index, glossary, etc.

-How the work relates to your particular research topic

-Your response to the work

Formatting the Annotated Bibliography

There are several different citation styles that an annotated bibliography can be written in; these styles include APA, MLA and Chicago Manual Style.  There is no clearly identified way to write an annotated bibliography in Vancouver Referencing style, so APA is typically used instead.   The instructions below apply to APA style.

APA Formatting

When writing the annotated bibliography, arrange each entry by author alphabetically (the title is used when there is no author). 

The first line is set to the left margin, and all other lines are spaced half an inch from the margin (this is sometimes called a "hanging indent").

Once the citation is entered, the annotation will begin on the next line down.  All entries are single-spaced and each is separated by one line.

Other useful sources

The following is a list of websites providing additional information regarding Annotated Bibliographies.