Annotated Bibliography

An Annotated Bibliography: Significant Features

A piece of writing that gives a concise summary of the sources used for preparing a particular academic work is called an annotated bibliography. It usually briefly describes each item.

An annotated bibliography succinctly summarizes the content of each used source. It also provides a brief analysis of the data presented in the selected resources. When doing such an assignment, you may need to analyze, assess, or criticize the chosen sources. It depends on the type of your work and instructions.

Note that an annotated bibliography can be a part of a complex project. However, it can be also a separate assignment. It is necessary to know that there is a difference between an annotation and annotated bibliography. The former may consist of a single sentence, while the latter includes a citation and a brief paragraph describing it.

Remember that it is essential to follow your professor’s guidelines precisely when doing such an assignment. In case of any misunderstandings, you should consult your teacher.

What is the aim of an annotated bibliography?

Considering your instructions, your annotated bibliography may:

  • evaluate the material about a respective topic;
  • demonstrate the importance of the provided content;
  • be a typical example of the amount of literature available on the considered question (e.g. web pages, books, articles, journals, etc.);
  • focus on the sources that may grab readers attention;
  • arrange entries for conducting further research.

It is worth mentioning that writing an annotated bibliography will help you become aware of information available about the explored subject.

Key Points to Follow

In order to achieve success in preparing such a work, you need to be attentive when selecting texts. The following questions will help you make the right choice.

  1. What subject am I examining?
  2. What issues am I dealing with? Outline the purpose of your work.
  3. Where can I find the required information? What sources should I use – newspapers, books, websites, etc.?
  4. Am I critical enough when choosing sources for examination? Does the collected material refer to my topic?
  5. What sources (encyclopedias, books, online resources, etc.) are the most important for my paper? Will I be able to find them?

What is an appropriate writing style for producing an annotation?

  • Succinctness is the main feature of an annotation. There is no need to write a lot as it is not a research paper. An annotation should not be more than a paragraph unless it is defined by your instructions. Mind that it is required to provide primary details only.
  • An annotation can omit information mentioned in the title of the examined work.
  • Usually, it is unnecessary to include additional facts about the question discussed by the same author in his/her previous sources. When analyzing only one text, you do not need to use citations to support the presented data.
  • Depending on your requirements, it may be necessary to provide complete information about the issue by using academic material.

How to organize an annotated bibliography?

It is necessary to start an annotated bibliography with giving details about the item. It should be followed by a short annotation.

The entries in the annotated bibliography should be arranged in the alphabetical order paying attention to the last name of every author. The summary of each item should consist of about 100-200 words. However, it is better to discuss it with your professor to avoid some uncertainties.

Core Components of an Annotated Bibliography

Below, there are some elements that can be included in the annotated bibliography depending on the word count and the explored source:

  • Give complete bibliographical information
  • Provide information about the author(s)
  • Determine the type of text
  • Present major facts
  • Define the target audience
  • Describe the applied research technique
  • Present the author’s conclusion about the examined issue
  • Explain whether the addressed text is important
  • Present tables, diagrams, or other specific elements of the work
  • Present strong and weak points of the text
  • Explain whether the analyzed piece discusses the theories that can be useful for completing your course
  • Discuss how the text under consideration can contribute to your research
  • Share your point of view about the examined text

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