How to Create an Annotated Bibliography

According to Cornell University, “Annotations are descriptive and critical; they expose the author's point of view, clarity and appropriateness of expression, and authority . . . . The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.”


Directions: Your project team should compile ONE annotated bibliography that lists all of the publication information (in MLA format) of every single source utilized in your presentation along with a brief description of the source’s substance, accuracy, and quality. Please print your annotated bibliography (one per team). After each paragraph, please list in parentheses, the NAME OF THE TEAM MEMBER WHO WROTE THE PARAGRAPH.


You may wish to use Google Drive/Google Docs to facilitate this process.


Annotation paragraphs should be written in 3rd person and should include at least a few pieces of information from each category below (say something about reliability/validity, something about the substance/content of the source, and something that speaks to the source’s value relative to other sources or relative to your project.

  1. Information pertinent to the source’s reliability and validity such as

    1. Who is the author? Is s/he an expert? How do you know?

    2. Who published this? Why? (What is the purpose of the publication?)

    3. If this is an Internet source, is it personal? Professional? For-profit? Nonprofit? (check URL)

    4. How recently was the piece written/published? Does this affect its validity?

    5. Does the source provide references, links, or other documentation? Are the references valid? Where did the author(s) get the information included in this source?

  2. A synopsis of the information, material, arguments, etc.  contained in the source

  3. A comparison of this source to other sources used by your group, for instance

    1. Do the findings in this source replicate findings in other sources, or are there discrepancies? Explain.

    2. Does this source do something unique in terms of its structure or in terms of the author(s)’ methods of research or of presentation? Explain.

    3. What is unusual or significant about this source?

                         or a critique of the relative value of this source to you as a researcher, for instance

    1. What do you appreciate about this source? What elements of design and/or content are advantageous?

    2. What makes this source more challenging to utilize?

    3. Why should someone else choose this source? (Hint: if you think no one should choose it, you probably shouldn’t be including it on your works cited page . . . )

   Below is a sample of an entry from an annotated bibliography. Notice that the annotation is preceded by the publication (MLA works cited) information. This sample is from Cornell University.

   Waite, Linda J., Frances Kobrin Goldscheider, and Christina Witsberger. "Nonfamily Living and the Erosion of Traditional Family Orientations Among Young Adults." American Sociological Review 51.4 (1986): 541-554. Print.

The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.



Andresen, Chatterton, Ghiurcan, Jensen, Mont, Tubbs

{Include group members’ last names.}

Annotated Bibliography: Ibo Writing and Reading

{After the words “Annotated Bibliography,” include a colon  followed by your group’s topic}


Gilbert, Pam. “From Voice to Text: Reconsidering Writing and Reading in the English Classroom.” English
Education 23.4 (1991): 195-211. Print. {List sources alphabetically, according to MLA format.}

Gilbert provides some insight into the concept of “voice” in textual interpretation, and points to a need to move away from the search for voice in reading. Her reasons stem from a growing danger of “social and critical illiteracy,” which might be better dealt with through a move toward different textual understandings. Gilbert suggests that theories of language as a social practice can be more useful in teaching. Her
ideas seem to disagree with those who believe in a dominant voice in writing, but she presents an interesting perspective. (Chatterton)  {Indent the annotation paragraph on both sides.} {Include the last name of the group member who wrote the paragraph!}

Greene, Stuart. “Mining Texts in Reading to Write.” Journal of Advanced Composition 12.1 (1992): 151-67.



This article works from the assumption that reading and writing inform each other, particularly in the matter of rhetorical constructs. Greene introduces the concept of “mining texts” for rhetorical situations when reading with a sense of authorship. Considerations for what can be mined include language, structure, and context, all of which can be useful depending upon the writer’s goals. The article provides some practical methods that compliment Doug Brent’s ideas about reading as invention. (Mont)

Murray, Donald M. Read to Write: A Writing Process Reader. Fort Worth: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1987.   



Murray’s book deals more specifically with the ways writers read other writers, particularly the ways in which writers read themselves. Read to Write provides a view of drafting and revising, focusing on the way a piece of writing evolves as an author takes the time to read and criticize his or her own work. Moreover,
the book spotlights some excellent examples of professional writing and displays each writer’s own comments on their own creations, in effect allowing the student reader to learn (by reading) the art of rereading and rewriting as exemplified by famous authors. (Ghiurcan)