Article of the Week

Run-On Sentences

Run-on sentences occur when writers try to combine more than one idea into a single sentence. They cause confusion because readers are not sure when one idea ends and the next one begins. Read our entry and test your knowledge with our quiz!


Click Here for Two Examples of Annotated Bibliography Entries

Annotated Bibliography

A bibliography is a comprehensive list of all the sources you have used in researching a topic. Even if you do not directly quote or cite a source in your work or paper, you should nonetheless include it in your bibliography, as it may have influenced or altered your thoughts on a subject indirectly or passively. Bibliographies are attached on a separate sheet of paper at the end of research essays. Your teacher will specify the format of your bibliography (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.).  

It is important to understand the difference between a bibliography and a reference or works cited page.  As mentioned above, a bibliography will consistent of every single source that you consulted in researching, preparing, and writing your work.  A source is to be included in a bibliography even if you do not directly cite or reference it in your writing.  The reason for this is so that the reader can see every source that you turned to in researching your topic.  A works cited page, however, consists only of the works that are directly cited in the text of your writing.  With the inclusion of a comprehensive works cited page, the citations included in your text can be cross referenced and checked for discrepancies.  The formatting for bibliographies and works cited pages are dependent on what style your teacher specifies (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc), so make sure you are paying close attention to what your teacher wants.

Occasionally, your teacher will ask you to compose an annotated bibliography. An annotated bibliography differs from a normal bibliography in one key regard: following the citation of each source, an annotated bibliography requires you to provide a paragraph or two that briefly describes and evaluates the preceding source.  

The annotation of a source always follows the citation of the same source. Annotations are always written in paragraph format. The length of each paragraph will depend on the source that is being annotated. For example, if you have use a short newspaper article for your research, you probably don’t need to write more than a few sentences in your annotation of this source.  On the other hand, if you are annotating a dissertation, a research article, or a long, informative book, your annotation should be more than just a few sentences. Such in-depth, informative annotations may even require more than a single paragraph for their annotations.

There are several reasons why one might write an annotated bibliography. The most important of these, however, is that writing an annotated bibliography requires you to familiarize yourself with the main points and ideas of each source you encounter. As a result, composing an annotated bibliography is a fantastic way to learn about your research topic. By writing an annotated bibliography, you will be able to find out where current opinion on your research topic stands. Learning about the pre-existing opinions concerning a research topic will also help you come up with an improved thesis statement, one that puts forward a significant, important, and arguable point.

The content of your annotations will depend on what type of annotated bibliography your teacher expects.  Specific types of annotated bibliographies may ask you to do the following:
  • Summarize: In a summative annotation, you should summarize the most important details and information found in the source. A summative annotation should introduce and familiarize the reader with the main topics and arguments found within the source in clear and precise language.  
  • Assess: Additionally, you might be asked to assess the quality of the source in question. How useful is the source? How does it differ from the other related sources included in your bibliography? Is the information presented in this source reliable? Does the author do a good job of expressing his/her viewpoint? Is the author providing reliable and objective information? You should address all of these questions when assessing a source.
  • Reflect: The reflective portion of an annotated bibliography requires you to explain how the source fits in with the existing body of related literature. Does it confirm the conventional thinking regarding its topic? Does it bring new arguments to the table or challenge pre-existing opinion? Essentially, what effect will the source have on its field?

Click here to see two examples of annotated bibliography entries.