Annotated Bibliography Requirements Directions

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Annotated Bibliography Requirements

Directions: For the Annotated Bibliography portion of your semester grade you will write research a topic, write a five-entry bibliography, annotate it, and turn it in on Tuesday, October 4 for ten percent of your semester’s grade. The Annotated Bibliography will function as a working bibliography for your Research Essay, so you do not necessarily have to use any of the entries from the Annotated Bibliography in the draft of the Research Essay that you turn in for a grade on Tuesday, November 1. The purpose of the Annotated Bibliography is to start you on a solid footing for the research project. We will also be discussing the many factors to conducting research between now and October 13.

The requirements for the Annotated Bibliography are that you list five sources, formatted in proper MLA style, and at minimum a two hundred-word annotation for each. See Chapter 70 of PHRG for information on how to document sources using MLA style. In that section, pay particular attention to pp. 415-31 for instructions on citing particular types of sources. We will also discuss MLA documentation on September 29.

As we will discuss in class, the PHRG describes on pp. 377-78 how to write an annotated bibliography, but there are a few features of this particular assignment that you should keep in mind. Each annotation should explain in no fewer than two hundred words what the source you are annotating is about, what its format is (book, scholarly article, magazine article, etc.), why you chose this particular source, and how the source is relevant to the topic you are writing on. An example is given below.

Defoe, Daniel. A Journal of the Plague Year. London: Oxford UP, 1969.

This book is a novel about an unnamed narrator who survived the Great Plague of London in 1665. It was first published in 1722, and it is meant to seem like a journalistic description of one person’s experiences during that time. While the style is journalistic, however, the narrator takes the time in some places to make moralistic points, most of which have to do with Christian duty and charitability. Many of these points, in fact, make up the structure of the narrative, since each new objective detail occurs to him as he goes from one moral statement to the next. The book goes into great detail about all of the things that he saw, but the features that are most relevant to my topic are the moments in it where he uses details from his experiences to support his moral judgments. My topic is the role of personal opinion in news journalism, and I chose this book because it is an example of journalistic method in the early eighteenth century, before many of the ethical codes of journalism we have today were set in place. It is also interesting because of its subject (the Plague), and the fact that journalists are still very anxious about pandemics like this one was.

The sources you use must be academically credible, so they must be found through the library’s databases. There may be exceptions to this rule for the Research Essay itself, but for the Annotated Bibliography, you may not use any web site as a source. If you are unsure of the credibility of any of your sources, ask your teacher beforehand.

Lastly, the Annotated Bibliography should have a proper MLA header and heading, a title, one-inch margins on all four sides of the pages, and the entire thing should be double-spaced. When submitted it should be stapled. These requirements also factor into your grade for this assignment.

For more information on the requirements for this assignment, go to my faculty web site and look in “Annotated Bibliography” under “Grading Rubrics.” If you have any specific questions between now and October 4, let me know in class or via email at, and I’ll answer them. I am also in my office during the hours posted on the syllabus, so you might also want to schedule time to meet with me.

Minimum Assignment Requirements: It should have a working thesis statement between the title and the first source citation, it should have five sources with an annotation for each, the annotations must be about 200 words apiece, and every source should be academically credible and gotten through the library’s databases. You cannot expect to get better than a D for this assignment without meeting each of these requirements.

Special Assignment Requirements: Below there are listed each of this assignment’s special requirements, along with their numbers and the points deducted for each requirement not met.

  1. Every line is double-spaced (-1 point)

  2. It begins with a properly formatted MLA header (-1 point)

  3. There are properly formatted MLA headings on each page (-1 point)

  4. It has a title (-1 point)

  5. It is stapled (-1 point)

  6. Sources are alphabetized as described on p. 377 of PHRG (-1 point)

The Research Essay

The Annotated Bibliography is the beginning of the Research Essay project, so you need to have a working thesis statement for it. For this class, you will be expected to determine your thesis statement only after thorough research has been done on the topic, but your Annotated Bibliography should be a product of that research. There are no requirements on the topic except that it cannot be under the subjects of abortion, gun control, the legalization of marijuana, the death penalty, or changes to the legal drinking age. You also should avoid choosing topics that are not widely debated. (For example, “drinking while driving” is not a very productive topic because there is little about it that debatable. No reasonable person would take issue with a thesis like “You should not drink while driving because it is dangerous,” so it is not a very productive issue.)

Again, if you have any questions or concerns, please let me know as they occur to you.

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