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AFRS 366: Colonialism in Africa

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

Annotated bibliographies help organize potential sources prior to being cited in a paper, presentation or project. Once all sources are collected, annotations for each help the author decide where and how to reference the books, articles or other media relevant to the topic. Annotated bibliographies provide the following:

  1. a formatted citation for each source in the required style
  2. a summary of each source 
  3. a personal evaluation of each source
  4. personal notes on where and how each source will be used

Milford, S. (2015, Winter). Photo identification at the ballot: election protection or voter suppression? Missouri Law Review, 80(1), 297+. Retrieved from

Write your source summary here in the first paragraph below the citation that is formatted according to the required style - in most cases, this will be MLA, APA, or Chicago. You may paraphrase your source according to the particular content that is most useful to your assignment.  If you are using a journal article, the supplied summary (or abstract) can help with intellectually breaking down the purpose of the article or study as well as illustrate the results of the research presented therein. In any case, your written summary of the work will serve to remind you of why it is (or is not)  meaningful to you in the context of your paper or project.

Write your evaluation of the source here in the second paragraph.  Your evaluation gives you an opportunity to examine and question the work according to its reliability and credibility.  Consider the author's qualifications and the intended audience. Consider the intent of the work.  Does there appear to be an agenda?  Are the arguments made by the author supported by data or other forms of evidence? Are there sufficient citations to lead you to believe the work responsibility integrates the contributions of other experts in the field? Consider the tone of the language.  Are the words appropriate in a scholarly context? Is the language or speech exaggerated (hyperbolic) as if to add impact without the support of evidence? Consider the arguments (or points) made by the author.  Are these effective? Are there perceivable gaps in logic or unsupported claims? 

Write your usage notes of the source in the third paragraph. Use this paragraph to remind you of how the work supports your arguments/statements. Is the work appropriate to use in the context of your assignment? If so, what specific parts (or statements) in the work will you cite? And where in your paper or project will you refer to the work? 

See more on annotated bibliographies at the Online Writing Lab (OWL).

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