annotated bibliography

Proposal Memo due Oct. 20 / Rough Draft due Oct. 29 / Final Draft due Nov. 3

10% of final grade / Annotations should amount to 500-700 words


In order to form an understanding of the current conversation around your archival proposal topic, this annotated bibliography will act as proof of your research and readings and allow you to organize that research. It will help you form your own position for the Archival Proposal project as well as allow you to become conversant in current discussions about your topic. You will build off of your primary research in the archive and search for secondary sources that will help you connect that history to a contemporary problem.


A bibliography makes a list of all the significant and relevant works you have consulted during the process of your research. An annotated bibliography also includes annotations that explain the significance of each source to your research. This is different from a Works Cited list, which lists the works that you end up actually making reference to in your essay.

At the top of the page, write out your research question. This is the question that guides your research, and your annotations should make it clear how each source helps you answer some part of that question.

For this annotated bibliography, you will make reference to 5 sources, including at least one book, one op-ed (or comparable published opinion piece), and one scholarly peer-reviewed article. In addition to a proper citation for each source (following a specific format, preferably MLA), your bibliography will include an annotation of the source. These cohesive and concise paragraphs will be approximately 100-150 words and will include:

  1. A brief description of the contents of the source. What is the main argument or the most important information? What evidence does it use to make its argument?
  2. A concise evaluation of the resource as it pertains to your topic and your own understanding of that topic. What does the source contribute to the conversation surrounding your topic? Why do you think it is important for your research?

Concise communication enables a wealth of material and ideas to be conveyed in a small space; therefore, an excellent annotated bibliography will not only be thorough and concise but also insightful. I will also be looking at the way you argue for how your sources work together towards representing your topic—the bibliography should be cohesive—and whether or not you have found suitable sources. Just as important as your ability to summarize these sources, you must also demonstrate the ability to evaluate these sources and explain the difference between each source and how they work together.


Download the document here: Annotated Bibliography assignment sheet

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