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Writing an Annotation

Assignments often call for an annotated bibliography.  In the scholarly world an annotation is more than just a blurb from a book jacket!  When required to write an annotation for each source used, the annotation should:

  1. explain why the source is relevant to your research; and
  2. critically examine the source.

The questions that follow should guide your critical examination:

Author Who is the author and what are his/her credentials (occupation, position, education, experience)?  Is the author qualified to write on the subject?
Purpose Does the author state a purpose for doing the research and/or writing the piece?  If not, can the purpose be inferred? 
Audience Does the piece have an intended audience?  If not explicit, can you draw a conclusion based on the language used, writing style or subject matter?
Research Methods What method of obtaining data or conducting research was employed by the author? 
Conclusion What are the author's conclusions?  Are they fairly supported by the research results presented?  Are the conclusions in line with the original purpose of the research?
Bias Are there any biases or assumptions evident in the piece?  Does the author acknowledge the existence of differing positions as appropriate?  Bias may be evident in the author's writing style, organization, use or interpretation of evidence, subject matter or language choices. 
Relationship to Other Works How does the research result compare with similar studies?  Are all similar studies cited by the author?
Illustrations Is the research supported by appropriate illustrations, graphs, charts, maps, documents, tests or questionnaires?  If not, should such material have been included?

Page Created Clarence Maybee & Maintained by: Peter Rogers | Last Updated: December 17, 2012 | © 2009

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