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Annotated Bibliography: Sample Annotation

This guide will help you craft an annotated bibliography, either as part of an assignment or as an exercise to improve your thinking or clarify your research strategy.

Three parts of an annotation


The three parts of an annotation are the citation, the summary and the evaluation.

In the sample to the right, the respective parts are rendered in different colors to make it easier to see which is which:

  • The citation is in blue.
  • The summary is in red.
  • The evaluation is in green.

Sample annotation


Here is a example of an annotation of a well-known article in anthropology that was published in 1990:

Abu-Lughod, Lila. “The Romance of Resistance: Tracing Transformations of Power Through Bedouin Women.” American Ethnologist, vol. 17, no. 1, 1990, pp. 41-55. [Click here to access the article via OneSearch, the library's catalog and discovery system.]

Anthropologist Lila Abu-Lughod uses examples drawn from her own fieldwork among Bedouin communities in western Egypt to argue in favor of examining specific forms of resistance to enable the study of shifts in power relations, rather than adopting an abstract theory of power — a move that Abu-Lughod says can result in scholarly romanticization of groups that are said to be battling oppression.

To make her argument, the author provides several examples of forms of resistance that women in these Bedouin communities employ; these include minor defiance, resistance to marriage, sexually irreverent talk and gestures, and subversive oral lyric poetry. These forms of resistance, Abu-Lughod argues, demonstrate not only the specific ways that Bedouin women resist power but also the particular social pressures that constrain or discipline them. Further, the author shows how this kind of examination can also reveal changes in the ways in which power operates in these Bedouin communities — specifically, those changes wrought by the increasing prominence of social forces previously external to them. Abu-Lughod’s article is therefore not merely about interpreting power and resistance but also examining the intricacies of the ways in which various aspects of modernity — including capitalism, media, nation-states and transnational movements such as Islam — affect power relations and gender dynamics in these “traditional” communities. Abu-Lughod’s claim is that this method is better suited to the task of tracking such intricacies than methods employing abstract theories of resistance.

The article is quite compelling both as a theoretical/methodological innovation and as a specific study of the power relations, and changes thereof, in a "traditional" Bedouin community. Its persuasiveness is a result of the detailed ways in which Abu-Lughod uses examples of Bedouin life, which reveal specifics not merely about power relations within these communities but also chart the complex ways in which the “outside world” affects them. Further, because her examples are so rich and well-drawn, Abu-Lughod is able to write with greater authority on one of the principal problems she seeks to address: that of scholarship that uncritically celebrates an abstract “resistance,” particularly in the arena of gender. While perhaps it would have been useful to discuss some examples of this scholarly problem in greater detail, Abu-Lughod's argument that such scholarship inhibits researchers from querying specific forms of power and resistance more rigorously is greatly buttressed by her own rigor. In demonstrating how attention to specific forms of resistance reveals much more about how forms of power operate — and their consequent effects on human social life — Abu-Lughod illustrates the clear advantages of the method she proposes. Given these advantages, I plan to cite "The Romance of Resistance" in my own research project as an exemplar of the kind of argument I am trying to make; as I seek to unearth similar insights about my topic, I will acknowledge Abu-Lughod's efforts as a blueprint for my own work.