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APSA Political Science Citation Guide: Annotated Bibliography

What is an Annotated Biblography?


An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.


Abstracts are the purely descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles or in periodical indexes. Annotations are descriptive and critical; they expose the author's point of view, clarity and appropriateness of expression, and authority.


Creating an annotated bibliography calls for the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research.

First, locate and record citations to books, periodicals, and documents that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic. Briefly examine and review the actual items. Then choose those works that provide a variety of perspectives on your topic.


Sample Annotated Bibliography - ASPA

BOOK Example:

Davis, Natalie Zemon. 1985. The Return of Martin Guerre. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

            This narrative is the main focus of my argument.  A valuable contribution to the understanding of the Martin Guerre story, with 
            considerable detail and references to ambiguities which create a large number of interesting and innovative approaches to the study of
            sixteenth-century French peasantry.



Davis, Natalie Zemon. 1988. “On the Lame.” American Historical Review 93, (3): 572-603.  
           In this article, Davis thoroughly defends her interpretation of the Martin Guerre story, outlining the reasoning behind her approaches, and
           contributing more complexity to her characterizations. This article informed much of my approach to Davis’ interpretation.


Pringle, Helen and Elizabeth W. Prior. 1986. “Inventing Martin Guerre: An Interview with Natalie Zemon Davis.” Southern Review 19 (3):

             Davis makes clear her intentions to depict the story of Martin Guerre as one revealing many ambiguities.  A notable element of this
              interview was the influence on Davis when observing Gerard Depardieu assume his role for the movie.  Entertaining to read Davis’
              thoughts in the form of an interview, expressed in a simple and direct manner, which assisted my understanding of her approaches to
              The Return of Martin Guerre.

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