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Music Research Guide: Annotated Bibliography

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What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of works (books, articles, other publications) on a particular subject. 

Each annotation in the bibliography can be written as a description or evaluation of the work or include both.  The length of an annotation is typically one paragraph that is well written, conscise and containing the following elements.  If the annotation includes both descripton and evaluation, the length could be two paragraphs.

All of the citations in an annotated bibliography should follow the format of the style you have choosen such as MLA,APA, Chicago, Turabian, etc.

Elements of Annotations

If you are writing your annotated bibliography for a class you should always follow your instructors directions.

A typical annotation can contain all or part of this outline:

  • Provide the full bibliographic citation
  • Indicate the background of the author(s)
  • Indicate the content or scope of the text
  • Outline the main argument
  • Indicate the intended audience
  • Identify the research methods (if applicable)
  • Identify any conclusions made by the author/s
  • Discuss the reliability of the text
  • Highlight any special features of the text that were unique or helpful (charts, graphs etc.)
  • Discuss the relevance or usefulness of the text for your research
  • Point out in what way the text relates to themes or concepts in your course
  • State the strengths and limitations of the text
  • Present your view or reaction to the text