Just what IS a Bibliographic Essay

You can produce a bibliographical essay on virtually any topic you(or I) could imagine. One hint that may help you with your selection ofa topic include making sure there are more than a dozen or so works(monographs/articles) written on the topic. If not, your topic isprobably too narrow. A second hint is that there should be some sort ofon-going discussion among historians about the topic, meaning thatsomething comes out almost every year. Some great historicalcontroversies die for lack of additional archival discoveries ormethodological controversies. Try not to pick one that has stoppedbreathing or that is on its last legs. No matter what, you will have tothink carefully and critically about your topic. Otherwise, you willend up spending too much time in the library stacks and not enough timein front of your word processor. Finally, a bibliographical essay thattakes into account only those works published in English will beconsidered less than complete.

To synthesize Dr. Sheppard's article, the required elements of a bibliographic essay are:

The section of Doenecke's book, reproduced below, exemplifies the basic method of an annotated bibliography (as does the entire book). In this case, the sources, because integrated into a larger bibliographical essay, are not listed alphabetically by author's last name:


The Art of the Bibliographic Essay - Sacramento State

A bibliographic essay identifes and evaluates the core literature of a field of study

Dr. Beth M. Sheppard, a librarian at United Library at the Seabury-Western Theological Seminary has written an excellent essay on the bibliographic essay. She describes very clearly the differences and similarities among book reviews, annotated bibliographies, and articles. Her article is only 3 pages long and easy to read and understand. If you want a good grade for this assignment, it's imperative that you read this article and fully understand what you will be writing. After you have read the article, I would suggest you review some of the BEs I have linked for you under Examples. Below is the link to Dr. Sheppard's article: