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What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is an organized list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each reference is followed by a brief paragraph annotation of 100 to 200 words in length. Whenever you have any difficulty with how to write your essay, AccessEssay is here for you. You can ease the tension by understanding “What is an annotated bibliography?” and the reasons for writing one. The purposes of this may include;

  • To provide a literature review on a given subject,
  • To formulate a thesis on a subject,
  • To demonstrate research performed on a particular subject,
  • To provide examples of significant sources of information available on a topic, and
  • To describe items that other researchers may find of interest on a topic.

Be sure to note the difference between annotations and abstracts. Annotations generally exist in bibliographies, are subjective, and the purpose is to summarize and evaluate. On the contrary, abstracts appear in journal databases, are objective, and they aim only to provide a short overview of the article and communicate the main points and themes. Now you have an insight into what writing an annotated bibliography entails, how do you write an annotated bibliography?

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

The section solves the question, “How do you write an annotated bibliography”. Creating an this calls for a variety of intellectual skills such as concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research. One should first locate and record citations to books, periodicals, and documents containing useful information on the topic.

Brief examination and review of actual items follow and choosing the works that provide a variety of perspectives on the subject. The third step is citing the book, article, or document using the required style. Then write a short annotation summarizing the central theme and scope of the book or paper.

The summary should evaluate the author’s authority or background, comment on the intended audience. Compare or contrast the work with another cited work, and explain how the work embellishes the bibliography topic.

An annotated bibliography should include the following, depending on the type:. The purpose of the work, summary of contents, and relevance to the topic. Additionally, include distinctive features about the material, the kind of audience of the work, and the strengths, weaknesses, or biases.

Annotated Bibliography Example

AccessEssay distinguishes two major types of annotated bibliography example.

Descriptive or normative summarizes a source the same way an abstract does, describing why the source is useful for a given topic, its distinctive features, and the author’s main arguments and conclusions; it does not evaluate the author’s findings.

Analytical or critical examines the weaknesses and evaluates the author’s conclusions. Below is an example of analytical or critical format given by the University of Maryland Global Campus:


Chicago annotated bibliography
Chicago annotated bibliography

The editorial from the Economist describes the controversy surrounding video games and the effect they have on people who use them. The article points out that most gaming critics are people over 40. And it is an issue of age, not of the games themselves. While the author briefly mentions studies done around the issue of violence and gaming. He does not go into enough depth for the reader to truly know the range of studies that have been done in this area, other than to take his word that the research is unsatisfactory.

The author stresses the age factor over violence as the real reason for opposition to video games and stresses the good gaming has done in most human living areas. This article is a good resource for those wanting to begin to explore the controversy surrounding video games. However, for anyone doing serious research, one should examine some of the research studies that have been done in this area rather than take the author’s word that opposition to video games is simply due to an issue of a generational divide.”

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Formatting in APA, MLA, and Chicago

  • Write all your references according to the APA guidelines.
  • Create a title for the bibliography page reading, “Annotated Bibliography.”
  • Organize the annotated bibliography page following the guidelines of the APA works cited.
  • Double-space all the page contents and use 12-point.

A point to note; it is always advisable to pay attention to your instructor for the formatting style as some may specify their preferred method. The instructors also may set the guidelines for formatting your paper, whether it is interpreted bibliography APA or MLA. For general formatting, make each annotation one paragraph of 3 to 6 sentences. Organize your citations by topic if it is long, and use the third person. You should also be objective, giving explanations anytime you state an opinion. For more information on how to write an annotated bibliography, you can find online guides from APA and MLA citation websites.

Write my Annotated Bibliography

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