Dr. Beth M. Sheppard, a librarian at United Library at the Seabury-Western Theological Seminary has written an excellent essay on the bibliographic essay. She describes very clearly the differences and similarities among book reviews, annotated bibliographies, and articles. Her article is only 3 pages long and easy to read and understand. If you want a good grade for this assignment, it's imperative that you read this article and fully understand what you will be writing. After you have read the article, I would suggest you review some of the BEs I have linked for you under Examples. Below is the link to Dr. Sheppard's article:
To synthesize Dr. Sheppard's article, the required elements of a bibliographic essay are:
- the essay should be well ordered and follow a planned scheme
- the resources discussed should flow easily from one to the next;large gaps in the discussion disrupts the reader
- keep in mind that you are selecting the BEST resources to include; assume you are creating a list of the best materials available on a topic in order to recommend to a colleague; do not limit your list to print sources-- other formats are perfectly acceptable
- how do these resources compare and fit
- introduce your essay telling the reader what the context is for the particular study
- a closing statement is also appropriate
- use appropriate grammar and writing style; there are several very good writing manuals
In addition to Dr. Sheppard's recommendations, I would add these:
- use the assigned style sheet (APA, MLA, Chicago) or select the most appropriate if given a choice by your professor
- check in at the reference desk for writing and style manuals if you don't already own one
Sample Annotated Bibliography
What is an Annotated Bibliography?
Some of your courses at Ashford University will require you to write an Annotated Bibliography. An Annotated Bibliography is a working list of references—books, journal articles, online documents, websites, etc.—that you will use for an essay, research paper, or project. However, each reference citation is followed by a short summative and/or evaluative paragraph, which is called an annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited, and to state how this source will be used in or relevant to the paper or project.
Thus, an Annotated Bibliography has two main parts:
- the citation of your book, article, webpage, video, or document (in APA style)
- your annotation
How to create an Annotated Bibliography.
- Research the required number of scholarly sources from the library for your project.
- Reference each source in APA format. For help on how to format each source, see our sample references list.
- Write two paragraphs under each source:
- The first paragraph is a short summary of the article in your own words. Don’t just cut and paste the abstract of the article.
- The second paragraph is a short discussion of how this source supports your paper topic. What does this source provide that reinforces the argument or claim you are making? This support may be statistics, expert testimony, or specific examples that relate to your focused topic.
Sample Annotated Bibliography Entry
Here is a sample entry from an Annotated Bibliography:
Belcher, D. D. (2004). Trends in teaching English for specific purposes. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 24(3), 165-186. doi: 10.1017/S026719050400008X.
This article reviews differing English for Specific Purposes (ESP) trends in practice and in theory. Belcher categorizes the trends into three non-exclusive sects: sociodiscoursal, sociocultural, and sociopolitical. Sociodiscoursal, she postulates, is difficult to distinguish from genre analysis because many of the major players (e.g., Ann Johns) tend to research and write in favor of both disciplines. Belcher acknowledges the preconceived shortcomings of ESP in general, including its emphasis on “narrowly-defined venues” (p. 165), its tendency to “help learners fit into, rather than contest, existing…structures” (p. 166), and its supposed “cookie-cutter” approach. In response to these common apprehensions about ESP, Belcher cites the New Rhetoric Movement and the Sydney School as two institutions that have influenced progressive changes and given more depth to “genre” (p. 167). She concludes these two schools of thought address the issue of ESP pandering to “monologic” communities. Corpus linguistics is also a discipline that is expanding the knowledge base of ESP practitioners in order to improve instruction in content-specific areas. Ultimately, she agrees with Swales (1996) that most genres that could help ESL learners are “hidden…or poorly taught” (p. 167) and the field of genre is only beginning to grasp the multitude of complexities within this potentially valuable approach to the instruction of language—and in turn, writing.
This article provides examples as well as expert opinion that I can use in my project. This will provide me with evidence to support my claims about the current disciplines in ESL studies.
Guidelines for Formatting Your Annotated Bibliography
- Citations should be cited according to APA format.
- Annotations should be indented a half an inch (.5”) so that the author's last name is the only text that is completely flush left.
To see a sample Annotated Bibliography, click here.