How to Write Annotated Bibliography

Do you have a research you are working on or a school assignment that requires annotated bibliography writing? Well, writing an annotated bibliography is a very interesting activity and can really help improve the quality of your research activity. In this quick guide, we explore what is expected of you in this exciting annotated bibliography writing.

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What is an Annotated Bibliography?

 An annotated bibliography is derived from the terms annotation and bibliography. At the basic level, an annotated bibliography means a bibliography that contains annotations. Therefore, to completely understand what an annotated bibliography means, let us explore the meaning of an annotation and a bibliography.

A bibliography is a list of references or works cited that helps a reader understand the sources of information. A bibliography is a list of citations containing sources used or to be used in a research paper, or any other writing activity. These citations are also commonly referred to as references or works cited, depending on the referencing style you are using. Each entry in the bibliography contains information about the source including the author, title of the source, publication details, etc.

For example, if you are using APA referencing style in your writing activity and you need to cite a book as your source, the bibliography entry for this source should look like this:

Creswell, J., & Creswell, J. (2018). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches (5th ed.). SAGE Publications, Inc.

In the above bibliography entry, the details provided include authors, year of publication, title of the book, edition, and the publisher. This is a bibliography entry which is just one part of an annotated bibliography.

The second part of an annotated bibliography is the annotation. An annotation is a description containing notes/summary, comments, critique, or an analysis of something. In our case, the annotation provides information on what and why a source is used in the writing activity.

Therefore, an annotated bibliography refers to a list of citations or references that identifies a source of information and provides a summary, a critique or an appraisal, relevance and application of the source’s information in the current topic of writing.

Gateway Assignment - Annotated Bibliography Writing

Guidelines for writing an annotated bibliography

An annotation is different from an abstract. It should have several sentences summarizing the main points or ideas found in the item. It should then include your own statement evaluating the quality of the item and/or relating the item to your own research topic.

Many annotations evaluate the quality of scholarship in a book or article.  You might want to consider the logic of authors’ arguments, and the quality of their evidence.  Your findings can be positive, negative, or mixed.

Your professor might also want you to explain why the source is relevant to your assignment.

In most annotated bibliographies, your summary, analysis, and evaluation for each source becomes the body of your annotation for that source. Some annotated bibliographies may not require all three of these elements, but most will. Be sure to consult your professor and ask questions if you’re unsure about the required elements within each entry of your annotated bibliography.

Annotated Bibliography Example

Sample Annotated bibliography

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