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MH211/MH314 - Survey of Western Music I & II: Annotated Bibliographies

A guide for students in MH211 and MH314 researching music history topics from medieval times through the Classical era and from the Romantic era through the present.

Examples of Annotated Bibliographies

Writing an Annotated Bibliography

An annotation includes the basic bibliographic citation elements of author, title and publication information plus a brief paragraph that describes the purpose, content and value of the book, article, video, etc. This should be written in the appropriate citation style (Chicago, MLA, APA).

Annotations can be any length, but usually are about 3 to 5 sentences long, depending on the length of the item being described.

Annotations differ from abstracts. Abstracts summarize the main points or ideas in a book or article. Annotations offer a more extensive description of the book or article content and include information about the author and research methods. They also often include evaulations or critiques of the material and its usefulness.

Types of Annotations

  • Informative or Descriptive Presents the original material in a shorter form; a description of the work's content, avoiding most evaluative elements.
  • Evaluative, Analytical, or Critical: In addition to a description of the content, includes an evaluative critique of the material as well.

Elements Usually Included in Evaluative Annotations

  • Author Who is the author?  What is his/her occupation, position, education, experience, etc? Is the author qualified to write the book/article?
  • Purpose What is the purpose for writing the article/book or doing the research?
  • Content Briefly describe the information that the book or article contains.
  • Intended Audience Is the article/book intended for the general public, for scholars, policy makers, teachers, professionals, practitioners, etc?
  • Information Source What method of obtaining data, or conducting research was employed by the author? Is the article (or book) based on personal opinion or experience, interviews, library research, questionnaires, laboratory experiments, standardized personality tests, etc?
  • Author Conclusion At what conclusion does the author arrive? Does the author satisfactorily justify the conclusion from the research or experience?
  • Bias or Weakness Does the author have a bias or make assumptions upon which the rationale of the article or research rests? Does he/she address or ignore alternate views?
  • Currency Do the views or research in the work suffer from lack of currency of information? Has the piece become outdated in some way?
  • Relationship to Other Works How does the work compare with similar works or studies? Is it in tune with or in opposition to conventional wisdom, established scholarship, professional practice, government policy, etc?  Are there specific studies, writings, schools of thought, philosophies, etc., with which this one agrees or disagrees and that one should be aware? Are there any other works one should read in addition to this work in order to gain a fuller picture of the subject?
  • Special Features Are there significant attachments or appendices such as charts, maps, bibliographies, photos, documents, tests or questionnaires? What is the quality and usefullness of these features?

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