When you search for information, you don’t need to settle for the first search result(s). You should browse and/or narrow down the results and choose the books or articles that best suit your needs. Below are some of the criteria for evaluating sources:
Relevance: How does this source relate to your topic? Does this source cover your topic with enough depth?
Authority: (Author’s credentials): Who is the author or publisher or sponsor? How is the author (or publisher or sponsor) qualified to write on this topic?
Purpose: Is the purpose of the source to educate, inform, entertain, sell or persuade? Do the authors make their purpose clear? If there is bias (that is, if it is one-sided) do they provide evidence for their point of view?
Currency: (Publication date): When was this source published or posted? Does your topic require the latest news? Are older sources still relevant?
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. The process of creating an annotated bibliography calls for the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise explanation, succinct analysis, and informed library research. First, locate and record citations to books, journal articles, and/or periodicals, which 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.
Write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article. Include one or more sentences that:
– Evaluate the main focus or purpose of the work
– Usefulness or relevance to your research topic (or why it did not meet your expectations)
– Special features of the work that were unique or helpful
– Conclusions or observations reached by the author
– Conclusions or observations reached by you