How to Write an Annotated Bibliography – Tips & Examples

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Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography explains to the reader the works cited’ appropriateness and quality. It presents an overview of the published literature on a subject.

Furthermore, it is also used as a literature review that summarizes the research you conducted for the topic. It helps the professors and researchers determine whether the student has already read the sources.

Therefore, in this blog, you get a complete writing guide for an annotated bibliography.

Annotated Bibliography Definition

An annotated bibliography is a list of cited sources that you have used in the research. It is an enhanced references page, which contains the list of citations used for research.

The main purpose is to:

  • Provide an accurate source of information to the reader.
  • Review the literature on a specific subject.
  • Focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the sources.
  • Place authentic research in a historical context.

Moreover, it is the main part of the research work. On the other hand, it can be a stand-alone report in itself. It also provides a summary that assesses the source in terms of value or relevance.

However, when you compile the annotated bibliography, make sure that:

  • Selected sources show your knowledge of the subject.
  • Demonstrate the ability to identify arguments and analyze their usefulness for the research project.
  • Use the correct referencing style such as Harvard, MLA, or APA format.

It is also important to know that annotated bibliography requirements can be changed according to your professor’s instructions. Therefore, you must know what the instructor is requiring.

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Types of Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography has three different main types that are discussed below in detail.

  • 1. Descriptive Annotated Bibliography

    Descriptive annotation is also known as summary annotation. It contains information about the following elements.

    • Hypothesis or thesis.
    • Author's main points.
    • Methods used to conduct the research.
    • Conclusion of the work.
  • 2. Evaluative Annotated Bibliography

    Evaluative annotation is sometimes known as a critical or analytical annotation. It includes a summary of the sources in the same manner as the descriptive one. Also, critically analyze the sources. The main aim of the evaluative annotation is to:

    • Highlight strengths and weaknesses.
    • Evaluate the information.
    • Include value judgments.
  • 3. Combination Annotated Bibliography

    The combination annotation includes descriptive and critical annotation elements. The main purpose of this type is to:

    • Address the methodology.
    • Analyze the information.
    • Examine strengths and weaknesses.
    • Provide the conclusion.
    • Summarize the author’s main points.

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How to Write an Annotated Bibliography?

Writing a perfect annotated bibliography requires proper planning and preparation. For your ease, we have gathered some steps that will help you in your writing phase.

Let's discuss each point in detail.

1. Identify Sources

When you start writing, you must select the sources to include in the thesis, dissertation, or term paper.

When you analyze the sources, assess the author, title, publisher first, and then examine the content.

Furthermore, when you select the sources for your research work, keep these questions in mind:

  • Is this source current?
  • Is the publisher reputable?
  • Is the author expert in this field?
  • Is the information helpful for your research paper or project?

Once you have identified your sources, move to the next step. Also, make sure that your sources should be scholarly.

2. Do the Research

In this step, start your research process. First, do some background research of the sources that you will need for your research question.

Therefore, if you are a student, then the library is the best place to begin your research. Many libraries have an online catalog system that helps you to search for potential sources.

Many online sites and databases are available that you can use to search for sources such as:

  • Google Scholar
  • ResearchGate
  • Microsoft Academic

3. Select the Writing Style

In some cases, the professor assigns the format, and the students should follow this. However, the most common formats are APA, MLA, Chicago, etc. Physics, chemistry, and other fields use different kinds of writing styles.

Moreover, confirm the format from your professor first and then start writing.

4. Write your Annotations

When you select the sources and writing style, start writing an annotation for each source. When creating the annotation, you should follow these tips:

  • Use the correct format for citation.
  • List down the citations of the sources.
  • Use bold font for citation.
  • Indent every new paragraph.

5. Proofreading and Editing

It is the last but essential step for perfect work. Before submitting your research paper, you have to proofread it. Check all the spelling, grammar, and vocabulary mistakes. Make sure that your work is free from errors and you follow the correct format.

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Annotated Bibliography Format

An annotated bibliography contains the below two components:

  1. 1. Citation

    The citation of the paper should be formatted in the bibliographic style that your teacher has mentioned. The common citation styles include:

    APA Annotated Bibliography Format

    Here are the points that you need to consider in the APA bibliography format.

    • Use 1’’ margins on all sides.
    • The title of the page should be written in the center and bold.
    • Add page number in the upper right corner.
    • The references must be left-align.
    • Arrange references alphabetically.
    • After the corresponding reference, add annotations.

    MLA Annotated Bibliography Format

    Below given are the things you should keep in mind when writing the bibliography in MLA format.

    • Organize sources alphabetically.
    • Use 1’’ margins on all sides of the page.
    • An annotation should not exceed one paragraph. If you go above one paragraph, indent a new paragraph and separate it with a single space.
    • The entries of the bibliography are double-spaced.
    • Use Times New Roman font, and it is easy to read.
    • The first line is intended to be ½ inch.

    Chicago Annotated Bibliography Format

    Here are the guidelines for the Chicago bibliography format:

    • List authors in alphabetical order.
    • All text should be double-spaced and 12 pt font size.
    • Use 1’’ margins on all sides of the page and Times New Roman font.
    • Write page number ½ inches down and right-aligned.
    • The description and evaluation of the source are between 50-200 words.
  1. 2. Annotation

    An annotation is a summary of the source, and it is approximately 100-300 words in length. The annotation includes the following information:

    • Summary of the source.
    • Source strength and weaknesses.
    • Conclusion.
    • Evaluation of the research methodology.
    • Personal conclusion about the source.

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Annotated Bibliography Examples

The following examples give you an idea of the perfect annotated bibliography.

Annotated Bibliography Sample

Annotated Bibliography Chicago Style

Annotated Bibliography APA

Annotated Bibliography MLA

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Annotated Bibliography Topics

You do not need to find annotated bibliography topics separately, but some students need help with them. Below you can find several good topics; choose the one that you find interesting while preparing the annotated bibliography.

  • How to control social disorder with the help of criminal justice?
  • Should there be any academic instruction for preschool children?
  • Developing a healthy atmosphere for cancer patients.
  • The role of mediation in modern American life.
  • Role of cottage industries in the improvement of the economy.
  • Digitization of healthcare through mobile technology.
  • How has the role reversal affected the family values and structure in society?
  • Do students need the opportunity to choose subjects at school?
  • Role of the teacher in the student's education.
  • What is the scope of nursing in the next ten years?

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Tips for Writing the Annotated Bibliography

Below given are tips that you should follow for creating the perfect annotated bibliography.

  • Think critically about the content of your research paper.
  • Provides strong evidence that you have read from different sources.
  • Reproduce the author’s main ideas in your own words.
  • Follow your professor’s guidelines.
  • Gather bibliographic information from reliable and authentic sources.

These tips will help a lot, and you can easily write the annotated bibliography without any problem. If you still find difficulty in writing the annotated bibliography and need professional help. Consult FreeEssayWriter.net.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the three parts of an annotated bibliography?

Following are the three parts of an annotated bibliography:

  1. Title
  2. Annotation
  3. Citation
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