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Indigenous North America - ANTH203

Annotated bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a list of cited sources with brief explanations centering around one narrow 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. It will also help you, the researcher, decide which resources are best for your project.

An annotated bibliography not only summarizes the resource, it also explains how it is relevant to your research.

Some questions to consider when writing your annotated bibliography:

  • Who is the author(s) and what qualifies them to write this? (AUTHORITY)
  • What is the format of this source? A diary? A pamphlet? A newspaper article?
    • (For secondary sources:) What was done? A study? A literature review? (METHODS)
  • Why is this a good source for your project? (USEFULNESS)
  • What is best about this and what isn’t included? (STRENGTHS/WEAKNESSES)
  • What are they saying overall? What is the takeaway? (CONCLUSION)
  • Does this support or argue against your topic? (REFLECTION)

More information on annotated bibliographies can be found on the Excelsior OWL website


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The above work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.


Annotated bibliography definition adapted from Susan Archambault's Annotated Bibliography Assignment: Archambault, Susan. "Annotated Bibliography." CORA (Community of Online Research Assignments), 2015.

Bulleted list adapted from Aisha Conner-Gaten's Finding Sources and Annotated Bibliography Fish Bowls lesson plan: Conner-Gaten, Aisha. "Finding Sources and Annotated Bibliography Fish Bowls." CORA (Community of Online Research Assignments), 2017.