The MLA Handbook, Eighth Edition does not include guidelines for formatting an annotated bibliography. However, your professor may assign an annotated bibliography in MLA style. The annotated bibliography contains descriptive or evaluative comments about your sources. Each citation should adhere to MLA guidelines. Begin your comments immediately following the citation. The title might be 'Annotated Bibliography' or 'Annotated List of Works Cited'.
Your instructor may request an annotated bibliography in order to evaluate the types of sources you are selecting for your research. The annotations should show that you have carefully conducted your research and critically analyzed the information you will use to write your paper. The good news is that the 'Works Cited' list will be almost complete before you begin writing. Below is an example of an annotated bibliography in MLA style.
A bibliography is a list of works (books, articles, films, etc.) on a particular topic. An annotated bibliography includes a paragraph following each citation that summarizes the work. An annotation can help the reader determine the value of each work on the topic and the contribution it might make to his own research. Two common types of annotated bibliographies are descriptive and critical.
What Is Included in a Descriptive Annotation?
A descriptive annotation may summarize:
- The main purpose or idea of the work
- The contents of the work
- The author’s conclusions
- The intended audience
- The author’s research methods
- Special features of the work such as illustrations, maps, tables, etc.
What is included in a Critical Annotation?
A critical annotation includes value judgments or comments on the effectiveness of the work. In this context, critical means evaluative and may include both positive and negative comments. A critical annotation may contain the information found in a descriptive annotation and discuss some of the following features:
- The importance of the work’s contribution to the literature of the subject
- The author’s bias or tone
- The author’s qualifications for writing the work
- The accuracy of the information in the source
- Limitations or significant omissions
- The work’s contribution to the literature of the subject
- Comparison with other works on the topic