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Writing an Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliographies

An annotated bibliography is a list of resources on a particular topic. It includes a bibliographic citation for each resource as well as a brief summary of the author’s main argument and the value or relevance of the resource.

 Guidelines for Writing an Annotated Bibliography in History

  • Use the Chicago Manual of Style or Rampolla’s The Pocket Guide to Writing in History to write the citation for your book, journal article or primary document. Both of these citation style guides are available at the MacEwan Library. The Chicago Manual of Style is available in print and online.
  • Write an annotation for each resource.  It must include a summary of the author’s main argument as well as information on how the resource is useful to your research.

o   To identify the author’s main argument read the book or journal article. Pay attention to the introduction, conclusion, chapter titles or main headings of the resource for evidence of the author’s thesis.

o   Provide a brief description of the value of the source to your research and how it will support your thesis.

  • The annotation should be brief, one or two paragraphs are sufficient. Use clear and concise language.  Avoid vague statements such as “this article is important” or “this book is fascinating” instead explain why it is important or fascinating.
  • Arrange the list of resources alphabetically by author’s last name. Use a double space between the citation and annotation.

Sample annotated bibliographic entry

Lamont, Katie Bell. A Prairie Death: influenza, 1918.  New York: NYU Press, 2009.

            Lamont examines the response of Canadian politicians and medical professionals to the 1918 influenza in Winnipeg. The author investigates the various policies enacted to eradicate and prevent the spread of the virus.  This book is a valuable resource for providing a Canadian context to a worldwide epidemic. It also provides insight into how disease was managed in the early 20th century with an emphasis on the impact the influenza had on immigrant populations.

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