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Writing the Annotated Bibliography

What is an annotated bibliography? How do you write one? What purpose does it serve?

What types of Annotated Bibliographies are there?


There are two types of annotated bibliographies: Descriptive/Informative and Analytical/Critical.

1. Descriptive/Informative: This type of annotated bibliography provides a summary of the source, a summary of the author’s methodology, and how it will be useful for your project without giving an evaluation of the source’s argument.

2. Analytical/Critical: This type of annotated bibliography provides a summary of the source and its methodology and how it will be useful for your project. However, it also provides an evaluation of the source’s argument and whether or not the argument is helpful. However, many times you will end up using a combination of these types in your annotations!

LUC Writing Center Curriculum, Emily Datskou and Lydia Craig

Look At Your Source



  1. What are the author's credentials? 
  2. Are they affiliated with an institution (Where do they work, at a college or University?)
  3. What is their educational background? Is it relevant to the topic that your sources is covering?
  4. Have you seen this author cited in other sources or bibliographies.  People who are well respected in their field will often be cited frequently by other scholars.  
  5. Is the author associated with an institution or organization that is widely considered to be reputable? 

Publication Date

  1. When was the source published.  You may find the date on the title page of a book below the publisher.  You may also see it on the reverse of the title page.  On web pages you may find a date of last revision, sometimes at the bottom of the page.
  2. Is this source current?  Does it need to be? 


  1. Is it published by a University press? If so, it is likely a scholarly publication.  What can you find out about the publisher? Are they reputable?

Journal Type

  1. If your source is an article from a journal, is it a scholarly journal?  
  2. Is it peer reviewed?  


Adapted from: 


The Basic Components


  • Source citation according to your specific discipline, i.e., MLA, APA, Chicago
  • Description of the content/summary of the source:

o Author’s main arguments

o Source’s scope and audience

o Author’s methodology

o Important features included in the source (graphs, annotations, bibliography)

  • Explanation of how the source will be used in your project and how it is useful to your field
  • Evaluation of the actual source (what kind it is, the author’s expertise) and the author’s argument (what do you think of the source?)
  • Explanation of where and how you found the source (database, book, online) 

Things to Consider


When you encounter any kind of source, consider:

  1. Authority - Who is the author? What is their point of view? 
  2. Purpose - Why was the source created? Who is the intended audience?
  3. Publication & format - Where was it published? In what medium?
  4. Relevance - How is it relevant to your research? What is its scope?
  5. Date of publication - When was it written? Has it been updated?
  6. Documentation - Did they cite their sources? Who did they cite?

Explore more at: 

Evaluating Different Types of Sources




  • Read the preface of the book to get an idea of the author's intent
  • Scan the table of contents to get an idea of what material it will cover
  • Is there a bibliography included?
  • Read the chapters that are relevant to your topic


  • Read the abstract of the article
  • Skim the article for relevant information
  • Read the bibliography or works cited list at the end of the article
  • Read the article to summarize

Intended Audience

  • What type of audience is the source written for?


Bias/ Objective Reasoning

  • Is the information being covered fact, opinion or propaganda?  Facts can be verified.  
  • Does the information appear well researched?
  • Is the author point of view objective and impartial? Do you notice the use of emotional language? 


Explore more at: 

Evaluating Websites



Evaluating Websites

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