One common type of assignment you may be asked to complete is an annotated bibliography. The purpose of an annotated bibliography is to help you organize and evaluate research sources. Writing an annotation helps you identify what information you've found and decide how to use that information to construct your research paper or project.
An annotation is a summary and analysis of a source included under a complete works cited or reference entry for that source. There are two main types of annotations: descriptive (or informative) and evaluative (or critical).
A descriptive annotation provides a summary of the source, including its main claims and evidence, while an evaluative annotation provides commentary on the quality of the source and (sometimes) your response to the source's main ideas.
Sample Entry in APA Style
Futch, L.S., deNoyelles, A., Thompson, K., & Howard, W. (2016). "Comfort" as a critical success factor in blended learning courses. Online Learning 20(3), 140-58. https://doi.org/10.24059/olj.v20i3.978
Futch et. al. claim that while there are quantitative studies and anecdotal reports about blended learning, there is a lack of qualitative research about blended learning in a classroom setting. The study is meant to address that deficiency by interviewing three community college instructors. In the interviews, the instructors discussed the obstacles they face when teaching blended courses and their strategies to overcome those obstacles. From the interviews, Futch et. al. identify the instructors’ perception of their student’s “comfort” as the strongest factor in student success. “Comfort” involves reducing student vulnerabilities and encouraging participation. The second area the research identified is support, which refers to the organizational and communication strategies employed by instructors. The authors conclude that more of these qualitative studies are needed to investigate effective strategies for blended learning.
Sample Entry in MLA Style
Krugman, Paul. “Confronting Inequality.” “They Say/ I Say”: the Moves that Matter in Academic Writing: with Readings, 3rd ed., edited by Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst, W. W. Norton & Company, 2015, pp. 561-79.
In his essay, Krugman discusses the social, economic, and political costs of inequality in America to argue about the need of recognizing this problem and finding a solution. Some of the reasons he gives for the increasing gap between rich and poor include rising levels of personal debt, increased tax breaks for the rich, a conservative shift in politics, and the decline of unions. Despite these reasons, Krugman ends his essay on a hopeful note, claiming that is still possible to decrease inequality and make America a truly democratic nation again. Krugman does a particularly thorough job supporting his claims with specific evidence, including images, statistics, and data. He also provides contemporary and historical examples to prove his points. In terms of structuring his argument, Krugman effectively addresses and refutes opponents who claim that social inequality isn’t an important issue. However, Krugman does convey a slight bias against right-wing, conservative politics in this essay.