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How to Write an Annotated Bibliography On Your Own

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a bibliography that consists of descriptive and evaluative comments regarding sources which are cited in a paper. Such descriptive comments are known as annotations. If you don't know how to write an annotated bibliography, then look further.

How to Format the Writing an Annotated Bibliography

Writing an annotated bibliography entry includes two components: the annotation and the citation. The citation must be formatted in the bibliographic style which the professor might have requested for your assignment. Some general citation styles consist of APA, MLA, and Chicago. An annotation is nearly always 100-300 words in length. But, your instructor may have various expectations, so it's recommended that you clarify your assignment guidelines.

An annotation may consist of the following info:

  • A small summary of the resource
  • The strengths, weaknesses of the resource
  • The conclusions
  • Why the source is relevant in your area of study
  • The relationships to other studies in the area
  • An evaluation of the methodology of research
  • Info about the author’s background
  • The personal conclusions regarding the source
  1. Hanging indents are needed for citations.
  2. Double-spaced, within the citation and between them.
  1. Hanging indents also are required for citations.
  2. The annotation is indented two additional spaces, as a block.

Writing an annotated bibliography can serve several purposes, including:

  • A literature review on some subject
  • Show the quality of research which you've done
  • Give examples of the types of resources available
  • Describe other issues on a topic that can be of readers' interest
  • Explore your subject for further research

An annotated bibliography can be selective or comprehensive in coverage. A selective annotated bibliography consists of just those items which are best for your topic, when an exhaustive annotated bibliography attempts to clarify all that's available on a subject.

The organization of the annotated bibliography may be one of different methods, including:

  • Alphabetical method
  • Chronological method: by date of publication or by period of subject matter
  • By subtopic method
  • By format method
  • By language method

Annotations in an annotated bibliography often perform two functions: describe the resource and evaluate it. The annotation is a description of a particular resource, consisting of important aspects of content which are not evident in the title. Abstracts, like those found in different periodical databases or those which are accompanying scholarly journal articles are often simply descriptive summaries.

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