Creating an annotated bibliography in MLA style
The MLA Handbook is on reserve at the IRC desk on the Ground Floor.
Some annotations are merely descriptive, summarizing the authors' qualifications, research methods, and arguments. Your professor might also ask you to identify the authors' theoretical frameworks.
Many annotations evaluate the quality of scholarship in a book or article. You might want to consider the logic of authors' arguments, and the quality of their evidence. Your findings can be positive, negative, or mixed.
Your professor might also want you to explain why the source is relevant to your assignment.
Sample Page: MLA-formatted annotated bibliography
Battle, Ken. “Child Poverty: The Evolution and Impact of Child Benefits.” A Question of Commitment: Children's Rights in Canada. Ed. Katherine Covell and R.Brian Howe. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. 2007. 21-44.
Ken Battle draws on a close study of government documents, as well as his own research as an extensively-published policy analyst, to explain Canadian child benefit programs. He outlines some fundamental assumptions supporting the belief that all society members should contribute to the upbringing of children. His comparison of child poverty rates in a number of countries is a useful wake-up to anyone assuming Canadian society is doing a good job of protecting children. Battle pays particular attention to the National Child Benefit (NCB), arguing that it did not deserve to be criticized by politicians and journalists. He outlines the NCB’s development, costs, and benefits, and laments that the Conservative government scaled it back in favour of the inferior Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB). However, he relies too heavily on his own work; he is the sole or primary author of almost half the sources in his bibliography. He could make this work stronger by drawing from others' perspectives and analyses. However, Battle does offer a valuable source for this essay, because the chapter provides a concise overview of government-funded assistance currently available to parents. This offers context for analyzing the scope and financial reality of child poverty in Canada.
Kerr, Don and Roderic Beaujot. “Child Poverty and Family Structure in Canada, 1981-1997.” Journal of Comparative Family Studies 34.3 (2003): 321-335.
Sociology professors Kerr and Beaujot analyze the demographics of impoverished families. Drawing on data from Canada’s annual Survey of Consumer Finances, the authors consider whether each family had one or two parents, the age of single parents, and the number of children in each household. They analyze child poverty rates in light of both these demographic factors and larger economic issues. Kerr and Beaujot use this data to argue that
Rules! rules! rules!
The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers states the following formatting rules:
- The text and the works cited list should be double-spaced.
- Number your pages at the top right of the page.
- Reference list entries must have a hanging indent (to do this in Microsoft Word 2003, select the citation, click Format, then Paragraph, then Special, and choose Hanging).
- There should be 1 inch (2.54 cm) margins all around (top, bottom, left, and right) on each page.
- Use Times Roman font, or a similar serif font.
- Capitalize each important word (noun or verb) in a book or article title
- Each paragraph should be indented.
Word: How to Create an Annotated Bibliography
An annotated bibliography is often required in written assignments; however, many people are not familiar with the formatting required. In this screencast and tutorial, I demonstrate the steps required to create an annotated bibliography in proper MLA format using Microsoft Word.
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I have included a complete example of an Annotated Bibliography PDF Annotated Bibliography Example for your reference.
Here is a screencast walking through the process.
These directions will work for both 2007 and 2010 versions of Word. Please click on the pictures for additional details.
Open Microsoft Word to a new, blank document.
An annotated bibliography requires the pages to be numbered. To set this up, click the Insert tab, click on Page Number in the Header & Footer section, hover over Top of Page and choose Plain Number 3.
This brings your cursor into the header of your document, in front of the page number. Type your last name in and double click below the header section of your document to stop editing the header.
My personal preference is to write content before formatting, so I’ll explain the formatting in that manner.
In your Home tab, make sure Font Size is 12. Make sure Styles is set to No Spacing. Make sure Text Align Left is selected.
Start at the top of your document, and type your name. Press enter.
Type your professor’s name. Press enter.
Type the course. Press enter.
Type the current date. (Day Month Year) Press enter.
Type “Annotated Bibliography” or another title of the Bibliography. Press enter.
Now you’re ready to enter your bibliographies:
Type the MLA Citation for your source. Press enter.
Type your annotation about the source. Press enter.
Now, edit your formatting:
Press Ctrl+a to highlight your entire document. In the Paragraph section of your Home tab, click Line and Paragraph spacing and click 2.0.
Highlight your title and select Align Text Center.
Highlight the MLA Citation for your first source, and then right click inside the highlighted area and click Paragraph.
On the Indents and Spacing tab, under Indentation, choose “Hanging” from the Special: dropdown menu. Enter “0.5” into the By box. Next, make sure that Line spacing: is set to Double. Click OK.
Now highlight the annotation for the citation and in the Home tab, click Increase Indent.
Coninue this format for each citation and annotation.
Remember that you still need to indent the first sentence of each of your annotations.
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About Aaron St. Clair
Aaron St. Clair is a tech guru studying Computer Science at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. When he's not tinkering with new gadgets, modding systems, or slaving away at the mercy of the Tech-Recipe overlords, you can find him exploring the high country.
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