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Annotated Bibliography: Research Guides | UTC Library

Learn the basics of assembling sources, creating annotations and citing your references in this overview of a UTC Library workshop.

About this Guide

The content on this guide is adapted from the UTC Library workshop What is an Annotated Bibliography?

Step 1: Gather Your Sources

Review your assignment carefully to determine what type of sources you need, and how many are required. Most professors want at least some of your sources to be scholarly, meaning they should be peer-reviewed (original research evaluated by experts) and come from reputable publishers. The library website is your best bet for full text access to this type of content. 

  • Search with Keywords. Type in a few words or short phrases that describe the topic area you want to explore. Avoid using long sentences or typing in a question. Example: If you plan to write about how we should address the problem of anxiety among college students you might search it something like this:    Anxiety College Students Treatment Options

  • Assemble a Good Variety: Make sure you explore your topic area thoroughly. As you read, be sure that you collect sources that reflect the full range of issues or perspectives that readers ought to know about. Adjust your keywords and run more specific searches to focus in on finding sources that cover specific subtopics.  Anxiety College Students Medications

  • Collect more than you need: Very often, you will discover that a source you thought would be useful to your topic turns out to be off the mark. Since you will likely have to discard one or two, make sure you collect more than just the minimum required number. 

Step 2: Read Each Source Carefully and Write Your Annotations

Spend some time reading each source carefully, taking notes on important points, opinions, observations, or controversies presented. If you are reviewing a scholarly article, the Abstract (summary) at the beginning gives a good overview and the Discussion and Conclusion sections near the end give a good explanation of the results of the research and knowledge gained from the study.  

Check your assignment guidelines for details on the length your annotations should be and what type of information or analysis your professor expects you to include. These requirements will vary from class to class but generally fall within a range of 150-300 words. Very often, your professor will want your annotations to discuss the validity of the research as well as the usefulness of the source to the reader's understanding of the topic.  

Sample Annotation:

Step 3: Create Citations Using the Appropriate Style

The two most commonly used citation styles used at UTC are MLA and APA. There are several differences between them, mostly involving how the parts of the citation are arranged and how author names are entered. Below are two examples showing the basics of each. On the right sidebar of this guide, you will find a link to our library guide on Citation Styles. You can find examples and guidance there. 

Step 4: Assemble the Final Product!

Check your assignment guidelines for specifics on how your professor wants your annotated bibliography formatted. Usually, your annotations will be arranged in alphabetical order by author last name with annotations appearing beneath each citation. APA and MLA have differing requirements for the title page, margins, indentation, line spacing and fonts, so check your preferred style and make sure you are following their specifications.

Research Help

Set up a consultation with a librarian for help refining your topic and finding sources for your paper.

Citation Styles

Check out this guide to learn the basics of our most popular citation styles.

Writing Help

Visit the Writing Center to learn about services aimed at helping you improve your papers and projects.

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