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Annotated Bibliographies: Sample MLA Annotation

This guide provides examples, links, and explanations to help you create an annotated bibliography. Examples are currently Chicago style and American Psychological Association (APA).

Modern Language Association (MLA) Annotations

Creating an annotated bibliography in MLA style

To see a great summary (from Purdue University Writing Centre), click here.

 

General guidelines

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

1

  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.

 

Subject Guide

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More Sample Annotations

The University of Toronto offers an example that illustrates how to summarize a study's research methods and argument.

Cornell University Library offers these examples of both APA and MLA format descriptive bibliographies.

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