Writing an Annotated Bibliography Properly

Before writing an annotated bibliography, it is necessary to find out what an annotation is. You should know that is not just a concise summary of a particular source no matter whether it is an article, website, or book. An annotation should provide useful information about the analyzed resource. It should help readers understand whether a particular work is worth their attention.

Annotation versus Abstract

An abstract usually summarizes the examined book, web resource, or article. However, it has a descriptive character. Surely, annotations can also provide descriptions of sources. Nevertheless, they are focused on important details of the explored issue. There are two main types of annotations: critical and evaluative.

Annotated Bibliography

It is a piece of writing that presents the sources used for producing an academic work. However, it differs from a common bibliography. The point is that each entry of the annotated bibliography is followed by a short descriptive paragraph. It usually includes 150-200 words. The reasons for preparing such type of work are quite different. Everything depends on the given assignment. Therefore, it may be written to:

  • help produce a thesis statement;
  • present research results;
  • present a literature review of the explored issue;
  • provide information about the sources containing relevant material on the discussed matter;
  • cover the points that may interest other scholars.

An annotated bibliography can be of two types. They are the following:

  • Analytical (critical)
  • Descriptive (informative)

Analytical Annotated Bibliography

It is also called critical. Its aim is to analyze and summarize the produced material. When preparing this piece of writing, you need to explore in detail its key points. Meticulous attention should be also paid to the author’s conclusion. You should find out whether it summarizes the work reasonably or not. By the way, in most cases, students are assigned to write this type of annotated bibliography.

Descriptive Annotated Bibliography

It is an informative paper that provides a clear summary of the used sources in the way that an abstract does. When writing this work, you need to find out why a particular source is helpful for examining the chosen subject. Besides, this type of the annotated bibliography also analyzes the presented facts and made conclusion. However, there is no need to evaluate the author’s point of view.

If you want to understand what to begin your annotated bibliography with, take the following tips into consideration:

  • Select the sources. At this stage you need to do research in the way you conduct it when examining other academic works.
  • Make a review. Choose those sources that contain only relevant material on the topic. By the way, it is very useful to take different articles written on your subject into account.
  • Make proper citations and write an annotation. Remember that citation goes first.

According to the type of annotated bibliography, it may include different structural elements. They are the following:

  • Summary of the content
  • The Aim of the paper
  • Data about the authors of the examined source
  • Information about the readers
  • The major points of the work
  • Peculiar features of the presented material
  • Research approaches

Note that an annotated bibliography may be arranged both in chronological and alphabetical orders. You should strictly adhere to the guidelines provided by your professor to do everything correctly.