An annotated bibliography is frequently a requirement at the university level. More than a simple list, an annotated bibliography is a compilation of sources that are given a brief discription.
An Annotated Bibliography of sources used in a research paper follows each citation with a brief description of the work. The purpose of an annotation is to give the reader some insight into the relevance and quality of the source in relation to the research. Here is a sample of one such annotation:
Atkinson, P. (2003). Managing chaos in a matrix world. Management Services, 47(11), 8-12.
In this article, Atkinson argues that the structures put in place by most organizations are not flexible enough to manage the change that occurs in the business environment. As such, Atkinson recommends the implementation of matrix management, a process of management that creates a process of action, rather than a rigid structure of action and development. By utilizing matrix management, Atkinson goes on to explicate how chaos can be managed in this matrix. Because chaos offers the organization the ability to learn from existing problems impacting the organization, the matrix process can be aptly adjusted to reflect what has been learned as a result of chaos in the organization. As such, matrix management is a means of maximizing the benefits that chaos can have for the organization.
An annotated bibliography requires more than a quick summary of the work. A good annotated bibliography will require the writer to do the following:
- Very briefly summarize the theme and scope of the entire work.
- Evaluate the authority of the author as an expert in the field.
- The annotation must describe how the work fits into the research project.
An annotated bibliography can be applied in any of the major citation formats: MLA, APA, or Turabian. It is more important that you, as the researcher, be able to critically analyze the source in question. Evaluating such aspects as the author’s objective reasoning, originality to the field, and/or logical construction of the text can be a bit of a challenge to the novice student. However, developing these skills through repeated attempts at creating an annotated bibliography will allow for sharpening the mind, critically evaluating sources, and writing a superior annotated bibliography.