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What is an annotated Bibliography?

A bibliography is a list of books, journals, newspapers articles, visual images or people used in the preparation of a research task for any subject at school. How to prepare a bibliography can be found on the Faculty's website in the Writing Skills section.

An annotated bibliography is the same but with the addition that each entry is followed by a brief (usually about 120 to 150 words) description and evaluation of the entry. The reason for annotating a bibliography is so that anyone looking at your work can appreciate the quality, relevance and accuracy of the sources you have used. It is also a way to prove that you have examined a variety of perspectives on your research task.

Creating an annotated Bibliography

1. Search for and select the books, journal articles, newspaper articles, visual images, or choose the people you are going to interview.

2. Summarize the main point or points contained in the source demonstrating, in general terms, the theme and scope of the source.

3. Evaluate the reliability of the author by refering briefly to his or her background, expectations, knowledge and possible bias. Include reference to the intended audience, the style of presentation and include a sentence clearly stating the usefulness of the source.

A possible example may be:

Brady, Jan, Modern History in the Stage 5 Classroom: a Teachers' guide to the Options in the new Elective History Syllabus, (Sydney, 2002).

The author, an experienced teacher of Modern History at The Hills Grammar School (background, knowledge, possible bias), provides outlines of the historical background (style of presentation) to the Options offered in the new Syllabus for teachers preparing to teach this course (audience). Each Outline includes a detailed Timeline, short Biographies of the main characters, and an overview of the main issues including reference to the ideas and ideologies involved (scope of the source). The guide also provides a list of written resources for each Option and a list of current websites, both academic and non-academic (scope of the source) to support the outline. This source was particularly useful in that it provided a specific overview of the topic and direct access to further, detailed information on the internet (usefulness). Through its overview it provided thoughts and directions for further study.

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