HO 296-SS: Honors Thesis-Capstone Prep

This guide is designed to help you locate resources for HO 296-SS: Honors Thesis-Capstone Prep

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography includes descriptions and explanations of your listed sources beyond the basic citation information you usually provide. A good annotated bibliography:

  • Encourages you to think critically about the content of the works you are using, their place within a field of study, and their relation to your own research and ideas.
  • Proves you have read and understand your sources.
  • Establishes your work as a valid source and you as a competent researcher.
  • Situates your study and topic in a continuing professional conversation.
  • Provides a way for others to decide whether a source will be helpful to their research if they read it.
  • Could help interested researchers determine whether they are interested in a topic by providing background information and an idea of the kind of work going on in a field.

Source: UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center

Creating an Annotated Bibliography

There are three steps to creating an annotated bibliography:

1) Select resources 

Locate books, periodicals, and documents that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic. Examine and review the items, selecting those that provide a variety of perspectives on your topic.

2) Cite materials

Cite the book, article, or document using the citation style required by your instructor - APA, MLA, Chicago or AMA.

3) Write the annotation

Write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the resource. Verify the type of annotation you are required to write with your instructor. The two basic types are descriptive and evaluative annotations. Annotations for each resource are typically between 50 and 150 words,.

Descriptive annotations (also known as "informative" annotations) provide only a summary of the author's main ideas. Descriptive annotations are typically two to three sentences long, and describe the content but include no critical remarks evaluating the source’s quality.

Descriptive annotations may include the following types of information:

  • The main purpose of the work
  • Intended audience of the work
  • Background or credibility of the author
  • The conclusion or results of the work

Evaluative annotations (also known as "critical" annotations) summarize the essential ideas in a document and provide judgments—negative, positive, or both—about their quality. Evaluative annotations are typically three to four sentences long. Evaluative annotations usually begin with broad comments about the focus of the source, then move to an evaluation of the source.

Evaluative annotations may contain the following type of information:

  • The importance of the work’s contribution to the literature of the subject
  • The author’s bias or tone
  • The author’s qualifications for writing the work
  • The accuracy of the information in the source
  • Limitations or significant omissions of the work
  • The work’s contribution to the literature of the subject
  • Comparison with other works on the topic

Creating an Annotated Bibliography - Video