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Definition and Structure of an Annotated Bibliography

Of course an annotated bibliography definition consists of “bibliography” and “annotation.” A bibliography can be called a list of resources one has used for researching a theme. Bibliographies are sometimes even called "References" and "Works Cited," it all depends on the style and format which you're using. A bibliography often simply includes bibliographic info.

An annotation means a summary or evaluation. Therefore, an annotated bibliography consists of a summary or evaluation of sources. Depending on the project or your assignment, the annotations can do one or more of the following.

Structure of an Annotated Bibliography

Annotated bibliographyAnnotated bibliography definition also includes the definition of the three main parts of a bibliography.

  • Summarize: Some annotations just summarize the resource. What are the arguments? What's the point of the book or article? What themes are covered? If anybody asked what this article or book is about, what would you answer? The length of the annotations determines how detailed the summary is.
  • Assess: After summarizing a resource, it can be useful to evaluate it. Is it a helpful resource? How can it compare with other resources in your annotated bibliography? Is the info reliable? Is this resource biased or objective? What's the aim of this resource?
  • Reflect: Once you have summarized and assessed a resource, you should ask exactly how it fits into the research. Was this resource useful to you? How does it help you to shape the argument? How can you use that resource in the research project? Has it changed the way you think about the topic? Check out examples of annotated bibliography to see that almost all of them answer these questions.

Why to Write an Annotated Bibliography

Annotated bibliographyTo learn about the topic: Creating a bibliography is a perfect preparation for your research project. Simply collecting resources for a bibliography is helpful, however when you should write annotations for every resource, you are forced to read every resource more carefully. You start to read more critically rather than simply collecting info. At the professional level, bibliographies allow you to notice what exactly has been done in the literature as well as where your personal research or scholarship may fit.

To assist you in formulating your thesis: Each good research paper is a kind of an argument. The purpose of research is to develop and support a thesis. That's why a very significant part of research is creating a thesis which is debatable, current and interesting. Composing a bibliography can help you to gain a good perspective on information in your topic. By reading and responding to different resources on a topic, you will begin to see what the issues are, and you will then be able to state your personal point of view.

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