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What Is An Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of source citations wherein each citation is followed by a brief annotation summarizing the source and its importance to the research topic at hand. Annotated bibliographies are organizational tools meant to compile research sources and conveniently provide researchers succinct synopses about each source. These synopses can be used to inform how researchers might utilize sources in their own work.

There are two main types of annotated bibliographies. Informative or descriptive annotated bibliographies provide a summary of a source and note how the source relates to a given research topic or question. Critical or analytical annotated bibliographies typically provide a summary of a source and also evaluate the source. The annotated bibliography assignment you are undertaking is descriptive in nature and does not require that you provide critical source evaluations.

Creating Your Annotated Bibliography

Below is the process you will follow when creating your annotated bibliography:

  1. Citing - Cite the source in proper MLA format. The citations should be organized in alphabetical order by author just as in an MLA Works Cited page. 
  2. Summarizing - Follow the citation with a brief annotation that summarizes the source in 3-5 sentences. You may quote from the source, but do not copy and paste the abstract. Ideally, all of the annotation should be in your own words. 
  3. Explaining - Explain the source’s relevance and importance to your issue in 1-2 sentences.   

Sample Annotated Bibliography Entry

Turel, Yalin Kilic, and Seda Ozer Sanal. "The Effects of an ARCS Based E-Book on Student’s Achievement, Motivation and Anxiety." Computers & Education, vol.127, Dec. 2018, pp.130–140. EBSCOhost, doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2018.08.006.

This study was conducted to test whether undergraduate math students who interacted with an e-book embedded with ARCS motivational tactics would have different rates of motivation, achievement, and anxiety than those who interacted with static PDFs and a print book that covered the same content but didn’t incorporate those ARCS strategies. Students in both the experiment and control group completed a Mathematics Achievement Test, Instructional Material Motivation Survey, and Mathematics Anxiety Scale before and after they read their assigned materials. Quantitative data analysis and qualitative student feedback support the authors’ claims that interacting with the ARCS based e-book significantly increased students’ academic achievements and sense of motivation and significantly decreased their reported sense of math anxiety. This article demonstrates the positive effects of developing instructional materials in accordance with motivation theories and tactics.

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