Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Assignment | Marine Policy Project (Spears): Annotated Bibliography

GEOL 1445 | Prof. C. Spears (Fall 2021)

APA: Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief description of the source in which you basically justify why you are using that source.

You will summarize the relevant information you're getting from that source (but remember, this isn't your paper -- you are summarizing, not presenting all the information itself) as well as how this well help you in your research (by providing background information, by exploring a certain angle, by presenting a contrary idea...).

Creating an annotated bibliography is not simply an academic exercise. An annotated bibliography is a tool to help you summarize your source content and evaluate its place within your research. If a source satisfies your "usefulness" criteria, that source belongs on your annotated bibliography. This process begins the transition from reading sources to incorporating content (ideas, quotes, paraphrasing) into your work. It is time to "make sense" of the knowledge you have gained from your research. This knowledge is the foundation on which to build your own voice, explain your methodology, discuss your conclusions, make and report on your new knowledge. 

Of course, evaluation of sources goes beyond "usefulness" to the other elements of authority, credibility, currency, and purpose.


Consulted Saylor Academy's open access course on research concepts and the writing process:  Research Writing in The Academic Disciplines. Annotated bibliographies have additional purposes that depend on the intent of the writer/researcher and the specific discipline.  
  1. Citation
  2. Annotation is a brief and concise statement about the source. Think in terms of a "note" consisting of 5-6 sentences.
  • One sentence to evaluate why the author is an expert on the topic(authority).
  • A sentence on the intended audience of the source (purpose).
  • A few sentences (perhaps a paraphrase) that explain how this source will illuminate your topic and how you will use the content in your paper (usefulness or relevance).
  • Any other criteria of note for this topic or discipline? 

APA7 Annotated Bibliography example

 

Managing Information

Your process to capture sources and citations will be very individual, but be consistent and choose a tool to help organize your research. Some suggested tools:

OneDrive

OneDrive - 1 TB free storage for Lone Star College students.

Evernote

Evernote - The basic version is free. Works across all mobile devices. Create notebooks for each course or writing assignment. Be sure to download the Web Clipper as well.

Zotero

Zotero is a free, open access extension that runs in the Firefox and Chrome browsers that's designed to gather, download, and tag your research. Helpful tutorials.

Zotero

ZoteroBib is a free citation tool that supports MLA, APA, CMOS, and thousands of others. Use this instead of the full Zotero if you just need some quick citations.

The Document

What should an annotated bibliography look like? How do you construct the paper? Good questions! 

Feel free to use the template document linked below.