Annotated Bibliography


The Goal

In this assignment, you will develop and exploratory secondary-source bibliography for your research. This initial bibliographic canvassing will serve as the beginning of a working document that will compel you to survey the important literature related to your research topic. 



  • At the beginning of your annotated bibliography, include a descriptive title and a brief paragraph outlining the topic and animating questions of your research topic. (Use those statements to refine earlier statements on your research.)
  • The assignment you submit should include the sources you currently are considering using. (The actual bibliography for your final draft will have evolved into a more comprehensive document.)
  • Include two sets of items in your preliminary annotated bibliography: (1) sources you already have consulted, and (2) sources you have not yet read but believe you will find useful.
  • With each bibliographic citation, include a brief annotation (no more than two or three sentences) describing the main argument and relevance to your work.
  • Note with an asterisk the sources that are most important for your work. 

There is no numeric requirement for how many sources your annotated bibliography should include. Your instructor will evaluate the assignment on the basis of the level of preparation and thought that went into your search. 


Some Suggestions

  1. Your source citations should conform to The Chicago Manual of Style. Be certain to use bibliography rather than note form.
  2. As you search, refer to the library resource guides available on the Randolph-Macon College and other library websites (including the University of Virginia). Remember, items not currently held in the R-MC Library may take several days to arrive via Interlibrary Loan services.
  3. I encourage you to find an appropriate means of managing your bibliographic citations. You may wish to consider using notecards or electronic management systems such as Zotero. The University of Virginia Library also offers you several helpful guides.
  4. Confront challenges in your work. If you do not understand something, we can discuss it and make better sense of it together.
  5. Learn from researching. Some of the essential skills we should be developing are in executing research, crafting arguments, and controlling a range of prose styles. With that in mind, take some time to reflect upon approaches to reading, researching, and writing that you have found most useful. Allow this project to establish a cadence for your future academic endeavors.
  6. Use good English prose style.