Annotated Bibliography

Everything we read conveys at least two messages:

 information about a topic or what the author says, and
 the author’s purpose in presenting information or what the author does.

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The annotated bibliography concentrates on the purpose.

Preparing an Annotated Bibliography As discussed previously, prior to launching any research project, the researcher’s interests and methods must be aligned with existing studies and placed on a map of all knowledge within his or her academic discipline. Writers look at what has been published in order to explain where their work fits on that map or, in other words, how they can add to the work of their fellow scholars.

An annotated bibliography compresses the article critique or literature review into a single paragraph, tightly focused not on what the author says but on what the author does! The annotated bibliography requires you to present analysis with as little summary of the information in the sources as possible. So, the real lesson gained through this assignment is to shift the way we use sources, from repositories of information about a topic which we take at face value, to strategies conveying the author’s point, which we apply self-consciously to our own thoughts and research.

At this point in the course, the history of history, or historiography, has demonstrated how fundamentally the world shifts when we look at different sources and ask different questions. Yet bias is always present, even if it is not apparent, and it is the purpose of the annotated bibliography to identify and evaluate that bias. C. A. Beard states the following in his 1934 article, “Written History as an Act of Faith”:

What, then, is this manifestation of omniscience called history? It is, as Croce says, contemporary thought about the past….Has it not been said for a century or more that each historian who writes history is a product of his age, and that his work reflects the spirit of the times, of a nation, race, group, class, or section?….Every student of history knows that his colleagues have been influenced in their selection and ordering of materials by their biases, prejudices, beliefs, affections, general upbringing, and experience, particularly social and economic….every written history–of a village, town, county, state, nation, race, group, class, idea, or the wide world–is a selection and arrangement of facts, of recorded fragments of past actuality. And the selection and arrangement of facts–a combined and complex intellectual operation–is an act of choice, conviction, and interpretation respecting values, is an act of thought. Facts, multitudinous and beyond calculation, are known, but they do not select themselves or force themselves automatically into any fixed scheme of arrangement in the mind of the historian. They are selected and ordered by him as he thinks.

Analyzing Sources

The syllabus outlines the number and kinds of sources that must be used in this assignment. In the Unit II assignment, you received information on how to analyze a source.

Writing Annotations

The guide below should be reviewed before writing, and before submission, to determine whether each annotation is complete and completely focused on an analysis of the bias or argument. The annotation should be contained in a single paragraph and may be as brief as five to six sentences.

In Annotation Not in Annotation The author’s purpose, otherwise known as the thesis. Summary of author’s topic The kinds and sources of evidence the author deploys, otherwise known as the argument. Summary of the evidence the author deploys HIS 3630, African American History 6 Identification of any specific approach or method (like psychoanalytical, or Marxist) Summary of the resulting information about the topic An analysis of the relevance, appropriateness and persuasiveness of the evidence Summary of the information about the topic Author is the subject of sentences, for ex., “Brown argues, etc.” Topic is subject of sentences, e.g., “The Harlem Renaissance” Verbs indicating analysis and argument are employed, including argues, theorizes, demonstrates, uses, applies, evaluates etc. Verbs indicating presentation of information are used, including narrates, covers, paints, reports, offers, or describes Concluding statement indicates the utility of the work to the research and proposed research project Evaluations like “good” or “bad” or “enjoyable” or characterizations of utility to the general reading public What the author does or achieves What the author says Click here to access an example of an annotated bibliography.

Now, in at least 400 words, prepare an annotated bibliography for three sources, including:
1. a topic statement (100 words) proposing a specific point of view, and
2. three annotations, each analyzing the argument of a peer-reviewed article on your topic.

You may not use a book review as an article

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