An annotated bibliography is an expanded version of a regular bibliography –those lists of sources that you find at the end of a research paper or book. The difference is that an annotated bibliography contains an additional feature: a paragraph or annotation under each bibliography entry.
The purpose of the annotated bibliography is to provide the reader with a comprehensive overview of the articles and books that have been written on a particular subject.
When you are required to write an annotated bibliography, you are likely to be asking things like:
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- Why do I have to do this?
- What should it look like?
- How do I go about creating one?
- Where can I find examples?
Why write an annotated bibliography?
The purpose of an annotated bibliography is to provide your teacher or research director with an overview of the research that has been published on a particular topic. If a professor or teacher asks you to write an annotated bibliography, he or she may expect you to take a good look at the sources that are available on a subject.
This project gives you an insight into the work a professional researcher would do. Every published article contains statements about the state of research on the topic.
A teacher may request that you use an annotated bibliography as the first step in a major writing research assignment. You would most likely write bibliography first, and then use a research paper to follow up on the sources you have found.
But one may find that the annotated bibliography is an assignment on its own. An annotated bibliography can also stand alone as a research project, and some annotated bibliographies published.
As a student requirement, a standalone annotated bibliography (one that is not followed by an academic paper assignment) would most likely take longer than a first step version.
What should annotated bibliography look like?
Ordinarily you would write the bibliography like a normal bibliography, but you will need to add 4.59 concise sentences under each bibliography entry.
Your sentences should summarize the source content and explain how or why the source matters. It is up to you to decide why each element is important to your topic. Things you mention are:
- The thesis of the source you support or not support.
- The author has a unique experience or point of view on your subject.
- The source has strengths and weaknesses.
- The source provides a solid foundation for any paper you want to write.
- The source leaves some questions unanswered.
- The source has a political bias.
How do I write bibliography?
Your first step is to collect resources! Find a couple of good sources for your research, and then expand by consulting the bibliographies of those sources. They will lead you to the additional resources.
The depth of your research determines the number of sources.
Other factor that might be affected by a particular assignment and teacher is how deeply you read each of these sources. At some point you will expect to read each source carefully before putting it into your annotated bibliography.
Other times when you are doing an initial study of the sources available, for example your teacher doesn’t expect you to read each source carefully. Instead, you are expected to read parts of the sources and get an idea of the content. Ask your teacher as you read each resource included.
Use alphabetical on your entries just like you should in a normal bibliography.
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