As a student, you should expect to get an assignment to write an annotated bibliography at some point of your studies. If you have received this task for the first time, you can be confused about the way how to compile it. However, you should not worry, because it is not as difficult as it seems. All you need is to know how to write an annotated bibliography and see an annotated bibliography example. By the way, you are lucky today because a lot of interesting and useful things you can find in this article!

While we discuss how to write an annotated bibliography, let us answer frequently asked questions about annotation and annotated bibliography.

What is annotation?

If you think that annotation is only a short summary of a book or an article, you are right. However, in fact, there is something more you need to know about it. An annotation also needs to provide the reader with the information that they need to know about the publication and make them interested in reading the entire book or article.

Is annotation different from an abstract?

You should know that an abstract also provides a summary of a book or an article. However, it has a purely descriptive nature. In the meantime, an annotation also includes more features about the publication, along with its description. Depending on the type of annotations, they can evaluate it or provide a critical point of view on the book or article.

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is something more than a reference list. Along with the references, it includes a paragraph with annotation for the source. The word count of this annotation should be 100-200 words.

What is the purpose of an annotated bibliography?

Depending on the task, an annotated bibliography can have various purposes. Thus, it can:

  • Give a literature review.
  • Create a thesis.
  • Present the research results.
  • Offer examples of the important resources on a given topic.
  • Evaluate the studies that can be interesting for other researchers.

What are the types of annotated bibliographies?

Annotated bibliographies can be divided into two principal types: (1) informative or descriptive and (2) critical or analytical. To understand these types better, read their definitions below. Finding an annotated bibliography example for each type is also advisable.

  • An informative or descriptive annotated bibliography should summarize a publication similarly to an abstract. It tells why a particular book or article is helpful in studying a certain topic and gives its characteristic features. This type of annotated bibliography should also discuss the author's main points and assess their conclusions.
  • A critical or analytical annotated bibliography does not only give a summary of the publication. It also provides the brief analysis of the information given. In this type of annotated bibliography, you need to reveal the strengths and weaknesses of the material and discuss how the publication can be applied to other studies in the area.

Please note that you might have to write critical or analytical annotated bibliographies more often than informative or descriptive ones. In addition, when writing an annotated bibliography, you should keep in mind that it is necessary to follow the format. Check with your instructor whether it has to be APA, MLA, or any other format. Remember that failing to follow the guidelines can lead to a lower grade.

How to write an annotated bibliography?

If you have read and understood all the information given above, you are prepared to start working on your annotated bibliography. Follow the next steps to do it successfully:

  • Select your sources. Before you begin writing an annotated bibliography, it is necessary to select the sources that you are going to use. To do it, you have to conduct research, just like you do for any other type of assignment. Find the sources that are relevant to your topic and make sure that they are reliable.
  • Review the information. Make a review of all the sources you have found and leave the ones that provide the best variety of facts about your topic. If you need to facilitate this process, you can read abstracts to the materials.
  • Cite sources and write annotations. Make sure that you provide a complete citation at first and then complement it in your annotation.

What to include in the annotated bibliography?

The type of your annotated bibliography defines the information you need to include in it. Thus, it can be some of the following:

  • Objective of the publication
  • Content summary
  • Target audience
  • Significance of the material to the topic
  • The material's unique and special characteristics
  • The material's strengths and weaknesses, as well as its biases

To make sure that you understand what should be included in your annotated bibliography, find an annotated bibliography example.

What is the format of an annotated bibliography?

In many ways, the format of your annotated bibliography depends on the requirements of your instructor. They can ask you to arrange your bibliography chronologically, alphabetically, or using any other way they prefer.

In addition, keep in mind that you should format the citations appropriately. Follow the style preferred by your instructor and make sure to check with them in case you are not sure how to use it.

If you keep all the above-mentioned guidelines in mind, your annotated bibliography will be perfect!

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Word count rule: 300 words per page (double spacing) and 600 words per page (single spacing)