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Sociology 4620: Drugs and Society: Annotated Bibliography

What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

My Moleskine Notebook

Annotated Bibliography: A bibliography where each citation is followed by a brief (150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph.

Bibliography: An list of citations to works (books, articles, documents, etc.) to which an author referred to during the writing process OR a list of citations to works on a particular subject. 

Citation: A notation about a book, article, study, website or other information source that contains a standardized set of basic identifying information about the source, arranged in some standardized format such as APA or ASA.

Bibliographies are usually alphabetically arranged but for this assignment, your bibliography should be arranged from most to least important.

Writing an Annotated Bibliography


The purpose of an annotated bibliography is to provide descriptive and evaluativel information about the resources used in a writer’s research process or to serve as a review of the academic literature published on a specific topic. Its goal is to place research in a context and present an overall picture.


1. The process of compiling an annotated bibliography begins with:

  • Locating and recording citations to works that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic
  • Evaluating each work by reading it and noting your findings and impressions
  • Choosing the works that best represent different perspectives on your topic
  • Citing each work in the appropriate style (e.g. MLA, APA, etc.)

2. Once you have your list, write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the work. Annotations should include most of the following:

  • Explanation of the main purpose of work
  • Brief description of the work (both WHAT work looks at and HOW it measures,  what it is looking for)
  • Intended audience
  • Currency of the author’s argument
  • Author’s credentials
  • Value of the work
  • How the work fits in with other works on the same topic/by other researchers in the same field
    • This work answers questions raised by (x previous studies)
    • This work provides a more in-depth look at (x topic from a previous study)
    • This article focuses on X, while most other articles encountered focus on Y
    • This article uses a very different method to understand how X works