Ruth's College Tips: How to Create an Annotated Bibliography


Hello again! I'm Ruth. I was an Elite student back in high school, and I'm just starting my second year at Brandeis University. My friends at Elite asked if I had any advice for students who will be starting college soon, so a while ago I shared my Top Ten Tips for Surviving College.

Today, I want to talk about one of my favorite research tools that helps make the most of your super-valuable study time – the ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY.

If you're in high school, you may think this doesn’t relate to you now, but it will! Here’s why:

In almost any college class that requires a lot of reading (and almost every college class does), it is likely that you will have to write a paper using quotes from one of the readings in order to support your thesis. At the beginning of my freshman year, I wasted a lot of time going through all of my reading trying to remember what each article was about and looking for appropriate quotes to use.

Even though writing notes in a notebook is very useful, I found that typing out quotes and a summary of each reading is an even better way to keep all the information in one spot and makes my notes really easy to review. It makes outlining my essays simpler, and I can easily copy and paste my quotes onto another document. Some people call these annotated bibliographies or literature reviews. The name doesn't really make a difference. It's doing it that matters!

Basically, for every reading you have, take a few minutes to type up the quotes you think are significant and then add a short summary (2-3 sentences) so you have an idea what the article or chapter was about. Below is a rough idea of how you can set it up. 


Source/Bibliography: Race, Class, and Gender in the United States (Prof. Rothenberg)

Part II, Chapter 6 - Johnson, “Patriarchy”


This chapter defines and discusses patriarchy and how it operates in a society. This chapter covers how men benefit when living in a patriarchal society and how women are oppressed.


“A society is patriarchal to the degree that it is made-dominated, male-identified, and male-centered. It also involves as one of its key aspects the oppression of women. Patriarchy is male-dominated in that positions of authority- political, economic, legal, religious, educational, military, domestic,- are generally reserved for men” (pg 153). 

“Male dominance also promotes the idea that men are superior to women. In part this occurs because we don’t distinguish between the superiority of positions in a hierarchy and the kinds of people who usually occupy them…then men as a group become identified with superiority even though most men aren’t powerful in their individual lives” (pg 154).

“Patriarchal societies are male-identified in that core cultural ideas about what is considered good, desirable, preferable, or normal are associated with how we think about men and masculinity” (pg 154).

“Women are often prized for their beauty as objects of male sexual desire, for example, but as such they are often possessed and controlled in ways that ultimately devalue them. There is also a powerful cultural romanticizing of women in general and mothers in particular, but it is a tightly focused sentimentality (as on Mother’s Day or Secretaries’ Day) that has little effect on how women are regarded and treated on a day-to-day basis” (pg 155).


Do this for every reading you're assigned, and you've got yourself an annotated bibliography. Plus, you'll be WAY ahead of the game when the time comes to write that paper.



Written by Ruth G. – Ruth attended Elite of Los Angeles and Elite's satellite program at the Los Angeles Leadership Academy. This fall she will be starting her sophomore year at Brandeis University, where she is a Sociology and Environmental Studies double major with a minor in Latin American and Latino Studies.