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An MLA Annotated Bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, scholarly journals & all other miscellaneous documents that you discover while researching for your final research paper online or physically at the library. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive & evaluative paragraph: the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevancy, accuracy, & quality of the sources cited.

In other words, an MLA Annotated Bibliography is a tool that all academic writers use in order to keep a running log of their research in real time as they research for & write their paper (similar to the search bar history on your web browser keeping track of everywhere you’ve been).

Not every source that you encounter will be helpful enough to use – it doesn’t matter. If you investigated it in any way, it goes on your MLA Annotated Bibliography. You might not end up using all of these in your paper, and some sources may need to be replaced with better ones for your final paper.

*Three things are required to appear within each annotation:

1. A brief synopsis of the source.
2. How it relates to your thesis.
3. All sources must be formatted in traditional, MLA format (similar to the Works Cited Page).

*For your final draft, you will have a total of EIGHT citations/annotations. As long as you have the eight required sources, you may add additional sources as needed. More than eight is fine, but less than eight is not.

*Remember to put everything in alphabetical order by author’s last names. If there is no author, this is a red flag that perhaps you could find a better source. If you’d still like to use an authorless source, default to the first word of the title (not “the” or “a”).

*Failure to meet the citations minimums will result in automatic failure.

Mandatory Source Type Requirements

1. One real, actual, bound book that you can hold. (hint hint – the textbook counts!)

2. A current news article (or as current as possible) about something that happened relating to your topic.

3. An opinion based piece on your topic. This source may be where you explore other forms of media for your paper, as, for example, a lot of documentaries are not only informative, but also carry an opinion, or agenda. Perhaps a Ted Talk can fit into this as well. Please note that TED talks are cited in MLA as lectures, not as online videos. See example:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Talk.” TED. Month and Year. Lecture.

4. An article that DISAGREES with your stance on this subject. This will help you address the opposing side/naysayer/counterargument.

5. A personal narrative of some sort, or at least a piece that incorporates a lot of personal experience as evidence.

6. A study of some kind/ published research on your topic.

7. TWO articles from a peer reviewed journal relating to the field your topic falls under. You’ll need to search the library databases.

8. As long as you meet the previous 8 source requirements, you may use any additional sources as you choose (except fake news!). I encourage you to get creative. Conduct an interview, create a survey, or use visual sources like charts, graphs, maps or works of art. Just remember, all of these must be cited and instructions for doing so are in your Seagull book or OWL Purdue.

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