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English 100 (Susan St. John, Spring 2024): Annotated Bibliography

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations that include a short descriptive and evaluative paragraph for each source. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the important details about the source including its content, accuracy, and quality.

Elements of an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography consists of:

1. A Full MLA Citation

2. A short paragraph that includes a concise description and evaluation of the source.

Detailed information about annotated bibliographies in the MLA format can be found in "Chapter 5.13 Annotated Bibliographies" of the MLA Handbook (available at the library reference desk).

Listed below are different way you can evaluate a source:

  • Content - What is this source about?
  • Purpose - Why was this source created? What question(s) does it seek to answer?
  • Authority - Who is the author? What is their point of view? What else have they written?
  • Publication and Format - Where was this published? What format is it?
  • Relevancy - What is the scope of the source and how relevant is it to your research?
  • Date of Publication - When was it written? 
  • Quality - Did the source cite their sources? Who did they cite?

In a nutshell, note the strengths, weaknesses, and biases of the source and any unique or special features about it

Sample Annotation

Example from UNSW Sydney:

(1) Trevor, C.O., Lansford, B. and Black, J.W. "Employee turnover and job performance: monitoring the influences of salary growth and promotion." Journal of Armchair Psychology, vol. 113, no.1, 2004, pp. 56-64.

(2) In this article Trevor et al. review the influences of pay and job opportunities with respect to job performance, turnover rates, and employee motivation. (3) The authors use data gained through organizational surveys of blue-chip companies in Vancouver, Canada to try to identify the main causes of employee turnover and whether it is linked to salary growth. (4) Their research focuses on assessing a range of pay structures such as pay for performance and organizational reward schemes. (5) The article is useful to my research topic, as Trevor et al. suggest that there are numerous reasons for employee turnover and variances in employee motivation and performance. (6) The main limitation of the article is that the survey sample was restricted to mid-level management, (7) thus the authors indicate that further, more extensive, research needs to be undertaken to develop a more in-depth understanding of employee turnover and job performance. (8) This article will not form the basis of my research; however, it will be useful supplementary information for my research on pay structures.


(1) Citation

(2) Introduction 

(3) Aims & Research methods

(4) Scope

(5) Usefulness (to your research/ to a particular topic)

(6) Limitations

(7) Conclusions

(8) Reflection (explain how this work illuminates your topic or how it will fit in with your research)


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