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Research Guides | Library | Amherst College

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship & Benjamin Mays Library Research Guide

Why make an annotated bibliography?

Annotated bibliographies are paragraph-length descriptions of scholarly sources. The purpose of an annotated bibliography is to:

  • Guide readers by providing a list of sources on a specific subject
  • Briefly describe a source  
  • Analyze the usefulness or significance of a source

 An annotated bibliography is helpful for making sense of how sources relate to one another for incorporating into a literature review. Collections of annotated bibliographies have been published as books or articles.

Components of an annotated bibliography

  • The source's citation in an appropriate citation style
  • A description of the authority/background/credentials of the author of the source
  • A summary of the source's format
  • Overview of the source's central argument and/or findings
  • An evaluation of the source
  • An explanation of how the work informs your research

Example of an annotated bibliography entry

Source: Owens, T. C., Callier, D. M., Robinson, J. L., & Garner, P. R. (2017). Towards an interdisciplinary field of Black girlhood studies. Departures in Critical Qualitative Research, 6(3), 116-132.

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