The Annotated Bibliography

Sometimes writing an annotated bibliography leaves students and even professional writers wondering, Why?

The annotated bibliography and the essay for which you are producing the annotated bibliography are two entirely different pieces of writing. NOTHING that you put in your annotated bibliography will appear in your final essay.

Understand that your annotated bibliography is the preliminary list of sources you will be using. Often times, when writing a paper, you will change your mind or go into another direction once you dive into the subject. So, more than likely, you will probably need to do a little more research once you begin writing the actual paper.

Be mindful and collect relevant college-level sources. Here some things to remember:

1. Qualifications of Author
Limit your articles to scholarly/peer reviewed articles and you'll generally be able to find the qualifications of the authors on the first page of the article. The qualifications generally consist of advanced degrees and affiliations with colleges or universities. If you start in Academic Search Premier, you should find appropriate sources, but be careful they sometimes lead to a lot of general readership magazines and not all of those are appropriate.

2. Purpose of the Work
You can frequently find the purpose in the abstract of the article. If there is no abstract, the first section of the article generally states the purpose.

3. Main Points
This you will have to find throughout the article. Frequently there are different main points to each section of the article. It might help to jot them down as you read.

4. Whether it is Useful
This you will also find through reading the article. You should ask: Did I learn anything? Did the authors discover something new about the topic? Did they provide data or statistics? Did they do their own original research such as experiments, human studies or surveys or did they review existing articles--or both? The more you learned or discovered something new, the more useful the article is.

5. How it Compares
You will have to read all of the articles for your annotated bibliography before you can determine this. Once you've read them all you can compare them to each other. You should ask: Which article did you learn the most from? Which article made the most important points?  How many sources did the authors use when doing their research? Also, which article is completely contradicts everything else - remember outliers and cranks do exist. Don't cherry-pick through articles looking for the single one that supports your points.

Where did you have the most luck finding relevant, college-level sources?


  1. Out of the 5 sources that I have found so far, I have kept four. Three of them I found on EBSCO. The last article is from the New York Times, and is closely related to the article that first sparked the interest in this topic to me. My next goal will be to find an article that can add to my counter-argument, as all of my articles so far seem to be calling for some sort of change or another to the ODA (Orphan Drug Act of 1983).

  2. I happened to find the most luck getting relevant, college-level sources in two places; Wikipedia and Academic Search Premier. I first tried my luck on the classic google, and most of the sources on there were all very similar and super short. I then remembered the trick to check the sources on a Wikipedia page, so I went there next. I was able to find a few reliable sources there that were relevant to my topic. I finished my search by checking on the search engine, Academic Search Premier and found it to be quite difficult to search things up. I really liked the fact that it gave me suggestions to search up because it helped me think of other questions that could bring sources up that weren't just all about the population number of rhinos. This is the other place where I was most successful in gaining the majority of my articles from.

    -Trinity Long

  3. Casandra Ralleta
    I had the most luck finding sources using the DVC library website's A-Z Databases. Most of my articles came from the database Academic Search Complete (EBSCO). It was also helpful reading the chapter from our reading instructing us how to search in a database.

  4. The annotated bibliography talks about how to set it up for an essay you are writing about. This talks about to organize your articles in alphabetical. The annotated bibliography should help with your essay because it will show how to do it all correctly. This article shows some ways to organize it a lot better.

  5. I have found about 10 articles that fit my essay but only chose 5 of the most relevant ones. However, sometimes I wonder if the sources chosen are suitable because they do not seem professional. Even so, I managed to find the purpose of each article and in the end, is able to extract points that I need to support my essay. I have chose three academic articles and two articles science based organizations to aid in my paper. Some can be used for comparison, while some provide background information. These articles can then be used to show agreements and disagreements for any counterarguments that I have.
    Wayne Toh

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  7. This is a good and informative article on how to find reliable and credible sources for your annotated bibliography. It shows how to find articles were the author has credibility on the topic they are discussing. It is also important to make sure that the articles you pick support your purpose in your essay and whether or not they provide data and statistics to support their articles purpose.
    -Joseph Santos

  8. I found 4 relevant, college-level articles at EBSCO which is located on the DVC website.

    Caitlin Sloan

  9. Jagmeet Randhawa
    English 126

    I did not hear of the annotated bibliography before this class. An annotated bibliography is actually helpful, it provides the reader with the background information the writer provided in the essay. I found the most luck finding relevant sources in the dvc library website one search database. I will also look for more articles from different places, but the most helpful were from there. I have trouble finding articles with 4 pages, most of them are quite short, but informative. I have 4 articles at the moment, but I am planning on finding 2-3 more.

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  11. I found all of my articles on the A-Z database. I will also try to do some more research on EBSCOhost and find some articles on there as well

    Gurkaran Randhawa

  12. Using the library date base was very useful articles that open my mind to other ways that cleaning up the city i live in can help the residents. I thought that it would make people feel better and be able to come together but a couple of articles showed me that it can help with children's obesity, and reduce crime. Also the first article that I found was a fun kid friendly guide to how to start a cleanup. Gave me some simple ideas and helped to lead me in a way with other information that i also needed.

    --Steven Roberts
    Professor Dore Ripley
    English 126


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