Guide on an MLA Annotated Bibliography

Guide on an MLA Annotated Bibliography

What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is often used while gathering information for a research paper and is aimed not only at collecting useful for your topic sources but also evaluating certain books, journals, articles and etc. and examining your research project more carefully. An annotated bibliography is a short, relevant to the topic description and/or evaluation of a source in about 150-200 words.

What Does an Annotated Bibliography Consist of?

Depending on the purpose of your project, annotated bibliographies may summarize (what are the key arguments?), assess/evaluate (is a source useful, is it reliable?) or/and reflect (does it fit your topic?) a source of information. A perfect annotated bibliography is one, which is written in a concise, succinct, informative manner and usually consists of two main parts: citation and annotation.

Your citations should include only those works, which have a wide variety of perspectives on your topic and be written in the correct format for the citations. Usually, it is APA (American Psychological Associations) or MLA (Modern Language Associations) or any other standard format checked with your teacher or instructor.

In the annotation part, it is necessary to describe the type of the chosen source, to summarize its content as well as assess its quality and usefulness regarding your project. There are two most common types of annotation: descriptive annotation (just a summary of a source) and evaluative annotation (which includes both summary and evaluation of the main arguments).

Sometimes annotated bibliographies may include additional (not obligatory) part, which is the preface. This part introduces the sources to the reader. It should be placed at the beginning and describe the critical knowledge of a topic of a research project.

MLA Annotated Bibliography

As each standard format, MLA has its specific necessary to follow requirements. What you should include while formatting your bibliography is: who prepared it, when it was written, and who published it.

  • The last name (surname) is to be followed by the first name and separated by the comma.
  • The title of a source should be put in quotation marks or italics (depending upon the type of a source) in all caps. Place the period before the closing quotation mark.
  • Provide the publisher’s surname as well as the year of the publication of each source.

Example: Tompkins, Jane. “Indians’: Textualism, Morality, and the Problem of History.” Critical Inquiry. 1986.

Documenting your sources correctly has always been a bit of work. Therefore, devote some time to this section of creating an annotated bibliography and do a good job in order not to raise a suspicion that you might have plagiarized or are not fluent in what you’ve written. Become an expert in MLA formatting!

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