Annotated Bibliography

As you compile a list of reading completed or planned, annotate the list to indicate the relevance of the article or book chapter to your topic. Annotating your Bibliography serves several functions:
  • You take stock of the significance of the reading in light of your current project definition and priorities;
  • You provide your advisors and other readers with a basis to help you identify holes and any mismatch between what you are reading and your Governing Question; and
  • You compose sentences that may find their way into your writing.

  • When choosing what to include in the bibliography, quantity is less important than a clear relationship of the readings to the evolving focus of your project. There is no need to pack or pad the bibliography with zillions of references uncovered in your searches. Instead, use the compilation of a bibliography to stimulate the process of clarifying whether and in what ways an article is relevant to your project (see Active Digestion). Omit readings that no longer relate to the current direction of your project.

    Because your topic might have changed or should be more concise by the time you submit this bibliography to your advisor, take stock of that and begin with a revised single Paragraph Overview of the current topic and Governing Question. Writing a tighter overview statement will also help to expose changes, gaps, and ambiguities. Comments by others on your initial statement also help, allowing that you can ignore comments rendered irrelevant by changes in your direction.

    Consult a writing manual (e.g., Turabian 2007) to decide on a citation style, then use this consistently as you compile your bibliography—You do not have time to redo citations later.

    (see Phase B)