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Annotated Bibliography

What are Critical Annotations?

Critical annotations also include an EVALUATION, or analysis, of the work.

 What might a good critical annotation include?

  • The strengths and weaknesses of the article, book, or other source;
  • The usefulness of the source for the research topic;
  • How the source compares to other books, articles, etc. on the same topic.

In the example annotations on this page, critical/evaluative content is shown in BOLD.

Example Critical Annotation in APA Format

London, H. (1982). Five myths of the television age. Television quarterly 10, 1, 81-89.

       Herbert London, the Dean of Journalism at New York University and author of several books and articles, explains how television contradicts five commonly believed ideas. He uses specific examples of events seen on television, such as the assassination of John Kennedy, to illustrate his points. His examples have been selected to contradict such truisms as: "seeing is believing"; "a picture is worth a thousand words"; and "satisfaction is its own reward." London uses logical arguments to support his ideas which are his personal opinion. He doesn't refer to any previous works on the topic; however, for a different point of view, one should refer to Joseph Patterson's "Television is Truth" (cited below). London's style and vocabulary would make the article of interest to any reader. The article clearly illustrates London's points, but does not explore their implications, leaving the reader with many unanswered questions.

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Example Critical Annotation in MLA Format

Summers, Montague. The Vampire, His Kith and Kin. New York: Dutton, 1929.

       "The first serious study in English of the Vampire, and kindred traditions from a general, as well as from a theological and philosophical point of view." Concludes that "it is hard to believe that a phenomenon which has so complete a hold over nations both old and young, in all parts of the world, at all times of history, has not some underlying and terrible truth however rare this may be in its more remarkable manifestations." The study covers appearance, characteristics, causes for, feeding habits of, and precautions to be taken against. Includes case histories, ancient accounts, an anthropological-type survey of various nations, asides on premature burial, necrophilia, and various perverse and antisocial acts. Contains a chapter on the vampire in literature and a bibliography of both true and fictitious vampires. Although useful as a source for broad historical background, this work does not fully address the issue of the vampire's cultural significance. For a review of recent cultural studies work on the figure of the vampire that argues that its current popularity, with both the cultures that represent and the post-modern critics who study it, resides in the vampire’s representation of “racial and sexual mixing,” see Shannon Winnubst, cited below. 

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