Annotated Works Cited

Annotated works cited documents require critical research and evaluation skills. Annotations frequently include brief, two-sentence summaries. The following guidelines apply to materials in all formats–books, magazine articles, websites, reference materials, etc.

The most challenging task may be locating the credentials of more obscure authors. Consult biographical reference databases or search for the author’s profile, resume, or CV (curriculum vitae).

Check with your teacher to see which of the following elements you should include in your annotations:

  • Author’s credentials
  • Primary, secondary, tertiary source?
  • Credibility of the publisher or site
  • Scope and purpose of the work: Is it an overview, persuasive, editorial?
  • Timeliness
  • Comparison of the work with others dealing with the same topic or others in your Works Cited list
  • Intended audience
  • Brief summary of contents
  • Evaluation of research: Is the work logical, clear, well-researched? Were the sources the author(s) used credible? Impressive?
  • Evaluation of author bias or lens
  • Relative value of the work to the research question or thesis

Example of an evaluative annotation:

Katz, Jon. “The Rights of Kids in the Digital Age.” Wired July 1996: 120+. Print.

Katz, contributing editor of Wired and the author of Geeks, presents a compelling argument for safeguarding the rights of children online. The article is aimed at a general, but computer-savvy, audience. Katz offers a far more liberal perspective than recent pieces in such major news journals as Newsweek, which warned the public of the dangers children face in electronic environments. Katz advocates the idea of preparing the “responsible child” and outlines the rights of such a child. He claims that our new “digital nation” requires a social contract similar to the one proposed by philosopher John Locke and adopted by the founders of our own country to protect the rights of all citizens. This comprehensive, distinctive, liberal view added needed balance to my project.

Note: Queensland University of Technology offers excellent rationale and guidelines for Writing an Annotated Bibliography