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Theatre & Dance Research Guide

An introduction to resources that will assist you in Theatre & Dance research.

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

Annotated bibliographies are descriptive and evaluative lists of resources. They may include citations to books, journal/magazine articles, web sites, or other materials. Annotated bibliographies start with a citation which is followed by a brief paragraph that describes and also evaluated the information.

A typical annotation contains the following information in approximately 150 words:

  • Author information: Who is the author? What is her/his educational/professional background? Are they qualified to write about this topic?
  • Purpose: What is the purpose of this research? Is the purpose stated or implied?  
  • Audience information: To what audience is the author writing (scholars, teachers, the general public, etc.)? Is this reflected in the author's style of writing or presentation?
  • Author bias: Does the author show any biases or make assumptions upon which the rationale of the article rests? If so, what are they?
  • Methodological information: How did the researcher obtain the data?
  • Conclusion: What conclusions does the author draw? Are these conclusions specifically stated or implied?
  • Conclusion justification: Are the conclusions justified from the research or experience? Are the conclusions in sync with the original purpose of the research and supported by the data? Are the conclusions skewed by bias?
  • Relationship to other works: How does this work compare with others cited? Does it conflict with conventional wisdom, established scholarship, government policy, etc.? 
  • Time frame: Is the work current? Is this important? How does the time in which it was written reflect on the information contained in this work

Thank you

Thank you to Vanessa Earp, Kent State University, for allowing us to borrow information from her LibGuide on Creating Annotated Bibliograpies.

Difference Between Annotations & Abstracts


  • Summarizes the work
  • Are usually short
  • Normally do not include an evaluation of the work itself


  • Includes an evaluation of or critical comments on the work.
  • The evaluation can include apparent biases, questions of credibility, and the originality of the research.
  • Annotation helps the reader know whether the work cited will be helpful to a specific research topic.

Dos and Don'ts of Writing Annotated Bibliographies


  • Summarize the central theme or scope of the article
  • Explain how this resource ties into the purpose or idea of your project
  • Include information on the author


  • Do not write a "thumbs-up/thumbs-down review
  • Do not skim the article, read it carefully before writing
  • Do not plagiarize
  • Do not copy and paste the abstract