Annotated Bibliography

Submitted by Susan Archambault on June 2nd, 2015
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Short Description: 

What is it?

An annotation is a brief evaluative summary of a book, article, or other publication. A bibliography is a list of resources cited in a consistent style format (such as MLA). An annotated bibliography, then, is a list of cited sources with brief explanations centering around one topic or research question. The purpose is to help the reader of the bibliography understand the uses of each source and the relationships of one source to another.

Your Assignment:

You are going to compile sources on the same topic for this annotated bibliography, cited in proper MLA format. When writing your annotations, be sure to compare and contrast the source with the other sources you have included. Discuss how this work relates to your topic and what perspective it provides. You can use the RADAR* (relevance, authority, date, accuracy, and rationale) framework to help you evaluate your sources.


Follow these steps when writing each of your annotations.

  1. Citation: Cite the source correctly using a referencing style (such as MLA).
  2. Relevance/Main Purpose: How does this source relate to your topic? What does this source add to the general knowledge on your topic?
  3. Relevance/Audience: What is the intended audience level of this source and is it appropriate for your topic?
  4. Authority/Author: Qualifications of the author (e.g., John Smith, a Russian history professor at USC, based his research on recently discovered documents). Is this source cited by other sources writing on the same topic?
  5. Accuracy/Evidence: Are the author’s claims supported by evidence in the form of references, citations, endnotes, or a bibliography?
  6. Rationale/Bias: Is there a bias in relation to your topic (e.g., “However, Smith’s case is somewhat weakened by an anti-German bias”)? State whether or not bias is present.

*RADAR adapted from:
Mandalios, J. (2013). RADAR: An approach for helping students evaluate Internet sources. Journal Of Information Science, 39, 470-478. doi:10.1177/0165551513478889
Meriam Library at California State University, Chico. (2010, September 17). Evaluating information-Applying the CRAAP test. Retrieved from

Learning Outcomes: 
  1. Interpret, evaluate, and cite evidence in written communication;
  2. Distinguish between types of information resources and how these resources meet the needs of different levels of scholarship
Individual or Group: 
Additional Instructor Resources (e.g. in-class activities, worksheets, scaffolding applications, supplemental modules, further readings, etc.): 

Give students links to research help and writing/citation help.

Suggested Citation: 
Archambault, Susan. "Annotated Bibliography." CORA (Community of Online Research Assignments), 2015.