Whereas a bibliography lists books and other printed works referenced in a research paper, a webliography, a new research product born out of web research, represents a list of websites used. To annotate means to write a few sentences that both describe and critique the website. When instructors assign an annotated webliography, they want students to defend the inclusion of the websites as references in the research paper. In the annotation, speak to the website’s authority, credibility and relevance to your research subject.
Read the assignment sheet to make sure you understand the assignment. Did the instructor confine your search to certain websites and prohibit others? Must the websites have links to your school library’s website? Must the student find his own topic of interest? Often a webliography becomes part of a larger research project, so assemble appropriate websites.
Use a search engine to find websites relevant to your research topic. You need to know who authored the website, whether the author is an authority in the subject matter, whether the website has corroborated factual information rather than unsupported opinion and the date of the last update. We live in a time of information overload, so don’t fear a lack of credible sources, nor should you settle for the first website you encounter. Research takes time.
Copy and paste the essential data into a word processing program once you find a relevant website. Copy and paste the author’s name, the title of the web page, the name of the website, the latest update date and the full URL address, copied directly from the address bar.
Describe the website in a sentence. Then, explain why you believe the website has accurate information to use in a larger research project. In other words, give a brief critique of the good and bad aspects of the website. Save this paragraph to a document on a flashdrive, and it will not hurt to email it to yourself so you will have two copies.
Repeat this process for each website. The assignment sheet should state how many annotations the webliography needs.
Follow the directions on the assignment sheet more than any others. Your instructor will advise which documentation format to use.