Approaches to Writing an Annotated Bibliography Entry
Once you have determined that you are going to use the article:
1. Get all the bibliographic MLA information first. The first item of the annotation should be the MLA Works Cited entry for that source, written in the correct format for an Annotated Bibliography.
2. Read the article/chapter in full.
3. Write the main purpose of the overall article. Was it a factual survey, a persuasive article, a presentation of evidence, a government report? If there is a slant towards one opinion or the other, what is it?
4. Summarize the main points the author uses to communicate the overall purpose of the article. Give the main ideas the article deals with. To help you follow the ideas, look at the paragraphing – remember, usually different paragraphs represent different ideas. Sometimes the articles will be subdivided under different headings. These headings often highlight main ideas of articles.
5. However, a summary does not stop with reciting the main ideas. Also, summarize what the author uses the ideas to convey. For instance, don’t just say the author has conducted a survey, say what conclusions the author drew from this survey. Sometimes you may want to quote a sentence from the article to demonstrate a point the author made. This is fine, but limit direct quotes to a sentence or two. Of course, be sure to include direct quotes in quotation marks, with a page number in a parenthetical citation after the quotation – MLA format as always.
6. The final paragraph of the annotation will be your own thoughts on the usefulness of this source. Why is it a good source for your topic? What did you find helpful in it? What does it support in your own argument? What, specifically, do you want to use in your paper?
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