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Works Cited or Reference Page

A list of works cited is attached on a separate sheet after the text of the document. In MLA form, that list is called a Works Cited Page. In some others it is known as a Reference Page. A Works Cited page includes only those sources cited in the document. As with the in-text citations, the format of this list varies by discipline. See Citing/Documenting Your Sources for your specific citation formatting style.


A bibliography is a list of books, articles and other sources of information that form the literature of a subject. A bibliography may include additional resources to those directly used in the paper.

Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography (AB) is a bibliography which includes brief notes about each entry (to annotate means to add notes). The purpose of an annotated bibliography is to provide your reader with a fairly complete list of relevant scholarly sources on a given topic. Each entry of an annotated bibliography provides full bibliographical information as well as commentary, generally 2-10 sentences, about each source.

Annotated bibliographies help you, the author, obtain a focused and critical reading of your source(s). This fosters the development of a well-rounded understanding of the chosen topic, which guides the research and writing paths. And ABs provide the author with a concise snippet of a much larger text, which then allows for a quick identification of what sources are key to the thesis, and which are not. (Not to mention the fact that ABs simplify the organization of your sources!) ABs also help your readers by allowing them to learn how your chosen sources fit in with your written work. As their understanding of the topic is enhanced, they are able to connect with your ideas more.

Summarize. Assess. Reflect.

The AB must be able to summarize and explain what the chosen source is about. Who are the main scholars involved in this literature? What has been discovered because of this publication? What questions remain for future authors to answer?

It is then important to assess how this source helps or hinders your research. Was the author objective? Did you identify potential biases? Were you able to tell what the author’s goals were, and whether those goals were met?

And through reflection, you may address how this source fits into your, and the discipline’s, grand conversation. What new ideas did it introduce into your work?

Types of Annotations

In a descriptive annotation the commentary summarizes the book or article and explains how the author addresses the topic. An evaluative annotation includes an evaluation of the quality of the information; in answering the question of how successfully the author achieved what he/she set out to do.

The key to a successful annotated bibliography is to be concise; since each entry's commentary is brief, you need to select the information carefully. Determine the source's central idea(s) and be concise in conveying that information. An entry to an annotated bibliography is not an appropriate time to go into great depth or detail. Primarily, you want to give the reader a general idea of what the source is about. This will require the ability both to determine what is central and to write about the ideas concisely and objectively.

Here is an example of a descriptive annotation:

Schechter, Harold. "Death and Resurrection of the King; Elements of Primitive Mythology and Ritual in 'Roger Malvin's Burial.'" English Language Notes 8 (1971): 201-05.

Working with Frazer's paradigm of the death and resurrection of the King motif in myth and ritual, Schechter sees Malvin as the dying king in Hawthorne's short story and Reuben as his successor. Reuben sacrifices Cyrus so that the curse of death-in-life can be removed. Thus, the tale becomes the imaginary fulfillment of the blessing of fertility (204).

Here is an example of an evaluative annotation of the same source:

Schechter, Harold. "Death and Resurrection of the King: Elements of Primitive Mythology and Ritual in Roger 'Malvin's Burial.'" English Language Notes 8 (1971): 201-05.

Though Schechter reorganizes the material in an interesting format, basically his study is a reiteration of Cassier's seminal argument in The Sacred and the Profane: Modern Myth Studies. Schechter's major contribution to the debate is his recognition that Reuben sacrifices Cyrus so that the curse of death-in-life can be removed. Schechter's attempt to put Cassier's argument in a Jungian context is intriguing but not quite successful, since he must ignore important elements in the story to do so.

Annotated Bibliography Example

Belcher, D. D. (2004). Trends in teaching English for specific purposes. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 24(3), 165-186. ​

This article reviews differing English for Specific Purposes (ESP) trends in practice and in theory. Belcher categorizes the trends into three non-exclusive sects: sociodiscoursal, sociocultural, and sociopolitical. Sociodiscoursal, she postulates, is difficult to distinguish from genre analysis because many of the major players (e.g., Ann Johns) tend to research and write in favor of both disciplines. Belcher acknowledges the preconceived shortcomings of ESP in general, including its emphasis on “narrowly-defined venues” (p. 165), its tendency to “help learners fit into, rather than contest, existing…structures” (p. 166), and its supposed “cookie-cutter” approach. In response to these common apprehensions about ESP, Belcher cites the New Rhetoric Movement and the Sydney School as two institutions that have influenced progressive changes and given more depth to “genre” (p. 167). She concludes these two schools of thought address the issue of ESP pandering to “monologic” communities. Corpus linguistics is also a discipline that is expanding the knowledge base of ESP practitioners in order to improve instruction in content-specific areas. Ultimately, she agrees with Swales (1996) that most genres that could help ESL learners are “hidden…or poorly taught” (p. 167) and the field of genre is only beginning to grasp the multitude of complexities within this potentially valuable approach to the instruction of language—and in turn, writing.​

This article provides examples as well as expert opinion that I can use in my project. This will provide me with evidence to support my claims about the current disciplines in ESL studies.​​

Revised: 04/18

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