COM 219 (Silverman) - Speech Class

Overview

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations that includes a paragraph length annotation.  This type of bibliography can help researchers determine the value of the source and how that source could potentially contribute to his or her own research. There are two main categories of an annotated bibliography:  descriptive and analytical.  They could also be called informative and critical.
 

Why is an annotated bibliography useful?

It helps you learn about your topic.  If you are to write an annotated bibliography, you will have to read your sources carefully, and be critical of them.  It also helps you learn where your research fits in the larger scholarship of your topic.

It helps others learn about your topic. If you are writing a critical annotated bibliography, your insights will help others understand the topic and what resources could be useful to them.

Analytical/Critical Annotated Bibliography

An analytical or critical annotated bibliography includes a description of the source as well as a judgment on effectiveness.  Those judgments could include:

  • Importance of source compared to other writing on subject
  • Author's potential bias
  • Author's qualifications for writing on the subject
  • How the author's conclusions would fit within your assignment 
  • How useful the source would be for others to learn about the subject

Coulam, R. F. (1977). Illusions of choice: The F-111 and the problem of weapons acquisition reform. Princeton University Press.

A pivotal study of the controversial Tactical Fighter Experiment (TFX) program (later called the F-111), an early effort of the 1960s to produce a multipurpose fighter that would be used by both the Air Force and Navy. Beset by numerous development problems, the program was eventually abandoned by the Navy; the Air Force decided to continue, but the difficulties persisted. Coulam's title aptly points up the fact that as aircraft development proceeds, a point of no return is reached, at which choices become minimal. Given the complex and ingrained nature of the weapons acquisitions process, prospects for reform, Coulam says, are doubtful unless the institutions involved in the process are changed.

While this book is an in depth exploration of the failures of the F-111 program, readers interested in the political controversies, including the contract awarded to General Dynamics, would be better served reading Robert J. Art's The TFX Decision: McNamara and the Military (Boston:  Little, Brown, 1968).  The author was a graduate student at the time of publication, and has not published in this field since, instead focusing on health policy, human rights, interrogation, and terrorism. However, this book directly addresses the larger problems in weapons acquisitions in the postwar era, which will be useful in my research on the Air Force Systems Command acquisition projects during McNamara's time as Secretary of Defense.


Note:  When writing your citation, make sure it is a hanging indent where the second line is indented and matches up with the annotation.
1st Paragraph Source: Pisano, D. A., Hardesty, V.D., & Fishbein, S. J. (1988). Aviation industry. In Pisano, D. A. & Lewis, C. S. (Eds.). Air and space history: An annotated bibliography (pp.285-286). Garland Pub.

Coulam, Robert F. Illusions of Choice: The F-111 and the Problem of Weapons Acquisition Reform. Princeton University Press, 1977.

A pivotal study of the controversial Tactical Fighter Experiment (TFX) program (later called the F-111), an early effort of the 1960s to produce a multipurpose fighter that would be used by both the Air Force and Navy. Beset by numerous development problems, the program was eventually abandoned by the Navy; the Air Force decided to continue, but the difficulties persisted. Coulam's title aptly points up the fact that as aircraft development proceeds, a point of no return is reached, at which choices become minimal. Given the complex and ingrained nature of the weapons acquisitions process, prospects for reform, Coulam says, are doubtful unless the institutions involved in the process are changed.

While this book is an in depth exploration of the failures of the F-111 program, readers interested in the political controversies, including the contract awarded to General Dynamics, would be better served reading Robert J. Art's The TFX Decision: McNamara and the Military (Boston:  Little, Brown, 1968).  The author was a graduate student at the time of publication, and has not published in this field since, instead focusing on health policy, human rights, interrogation, and terrorism. However, this book directly addresses the larger problems in weapons acquisitions in the postwar era, which will be useful in my research on the Air Force Systems Command acquisition projects during McNamara's time as Secretary of Defense.


Note:  When writing your citation, make sure it is a hanging indent where the second line is indented and matches up with the annotation.
1st Paragraph Source: Pisano, Dominick A., Hardesty, Von D., & Fishbein, Samuel J. "Aviation Industry."  Air and space history: An annotated bibliography, edited by Dominick A. Pisano and Cathleen S. Lewis, Garland Pub, 1988, pp.285-286

Additional Resources