How to Write an Annotated Bibliography
A Manual Guide to College Students
How to Write an Annotated Bibliography
An annotated bibliography is often used to summarize research articles by presenting a concise and precise summary of an article thereby providing a brief account of varied research articles available on a given topic. Therefore, it is actually a list of research articles summarized through concise descriptions accompanied by their evaluations. This indicates that an annotated summary usually consists of a brief summary of the article content in addition to evaluation or short analysis. Sometimes an annotated bibliography may constitute a larger assignment’s component or a stand-alone assignment. Moreover, an annotated bibliography can be as brief as a single sentence; however, the standard format of an annotated bibliography consists of a citation of the information source article followed by a short paragraph summarizing the entire content of the article.
In addition, an annotated bibliography not only provides the basic citations of the articles of reference followed but also it provides descriptive as well as evaluative comments, that is, an annotation. This is together with the assessment of cited article’s nature and value. Providing additional commentary ensures that the future reader obtains essential critical information from the cited article as well as a foundation for further research.
Despite the fact that an annotated bibliography can be as short as a single page, on average it should consist of the citation information of the selected article followed by a short paragraph which may be of a length of approximately three to six sentences or an estimated 150 words. An annotated bibliography is usually compiled by taking a keen consideration of the scope which consists of types of sources such as articles, books, websites, primary documents, non-print materials to be included as well as how many sources (comprehensive list) to be included in the annotated bibliography.
Conducting a search for the sources and their retrieval
Prior to beginning writing an annotated bibliography you should evaluate the retrieved sources by going through them and making notes of your findings and impressions. After selection of the final group of sources, you should then give their full citation data with respect to the selected bibliographic style such as (MLA, APA, Chicago) followed by writing an annotation for each of the selected source. Therefore, the annotations should immediately begin after the citation data and may consist of verb phrases or complete sentences. While writing an annotated bibliography you should make sure that, if not all, most of the following are included: an explanation of the scope and main purpose of the cited work, significance and value of the work, brief description of content and format of the work, theoretical basis of the author arguments, possible bias or shortcomings of the work, your own brief perception of the work as well as any significant features of the cited work. Although many of these features are also included in the literature review, in an annotated bibliography more emphasis should be on brevity.
You should draw a distinction between an annotated bibliography and an abstract since the former do not just give a summary of the main points like the latter but it also provides a description and an evaluation of those points in most cases. Thus, whether an annotated bibliography provides a conclusion of a book or an article its purpose should be aimed at providing a concise and precise summary of the work cited. Usually the length of each source annotated in about 100 to 150 words. Doing an annotatated bibliography is aimed at answering these questions: Why have I chosen the source for answering the topic?, how relevant to my topic is this source?
Harner, J.L. (2000). On Compiling an Annotated Bibliography. New York: The Modern Language Association of America.
Ikeda, A. (2010). Writing Annotated Bibliographies. Claremont, California: Claremont Graduate University Writing Center. Retrieved 21st June 2012 from: http://www.cgu.edu/pages/836.asp.
Robert, E. K. (2010). Writing an Annotated Bibliography. San Luis Obispo, California: California Polytechnic State University. Retrieved 21st June 2012 from: http://lib.calpoly.edu/research/guides/bibliography.html.
Bisignani, D. & Brizee, A. (2010). Annotated Bibliographies. West Lafayette, Indiana: Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University. Retrieved 21st June 2012 from: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/614/01/.