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How to Prepare and Write an Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography


If you have never written annotated bibliographies, you may feel difficulty with such an assignment but this article will help you find out how to write this section, how to format it, and how it will be useful for you.

In the process of working on a project and its structure, you make references to different sources, and usually, you cannot avoid it when writing academic scientific papers. The bibliography is the section where you list the citations to articles, books, and other sources. This is not one of the biggest sections and the chapters in your project, it takes less time but you should know how to create and format it.

The difference between this and the usual bibliography is that you have to put annotations for each source in the list. That is why an annotation is not just an abstract. In this small paragraphs, you can criticize sources and provide your point of view at them, it summarizes the article or book with your explanations age.

In such paragraphs, you should write everything that helps your readers understand your sources more deeply. It works with any topic, even if you write about the controversy surrounding video of the Moon landing or the difference between the APA association sample format and MLA.


The Purpose of Your Annotated Bibliography

When creating a new bibliography section, you have a few goals. Usually, there are the following objectives: 

- Providing a review of a particular article, book, or another type of source. 

- Providing the real reason for using a specific source in your document. 

- Providing the details of your work and research on this subject, helping your readers to find out what else they can read on the specific subject. 

- It points out that you did a deep research and shows its results. 


The Common Types

You can be assigned to create a descriptive or informative bibliography, these types are also called analytical and critical. The difference between them is the approach to writing about the source and providing your own opinion about it. Before starting your work on it, find out what is the required type of your bibliography, analytical or critical.

In descriptive annotations, you just provide a brief information that describes the material, its source, the history of its writing, its author, and why you decided to use it in your references list. In critical annotations, you can also show your opinion, focus on weak and strong parts of each item. You also provide your own understanding of it. If you study a paper on the traditional family orientations among people in America and disagree with the author's definition if of the erosion of traditional family, you can prove your position by citing the American psychological journal and other sources.


How to Write It Correctly

If you need this section in your paper, you should start by selecting your sources. If you are writing about the young people addicted to video games and VR, you should study other similar works on this subject. If the main part of your project is already completed, you may already have the list of sources and just put it into your bibliography.

Then, you should do a small research on each item of your list. Study every source you have, find out when it was written and why, what was the reputation and experience of an author at the moment of writing, how it was connected to other scientific papers of that time. The more you study it, the deeper you will understand the author's point of view. If you are going to tell readers about the results of American sociological review on the professional orientations among young adults caused by nonfamily living and the difficulties connected with that, it would be hard if you do not study this specific topic well before writing about it.

Format the list of references due to guidelines of your paper, and then, you should write an annotation below each of the items. When all annotations are written, just finish the chapter, check the grammar and logical flow.

What to Write in Annotations

The text of annotations depends on the purpose of this section, and most usually, you should include in your paper the following things: 

- The objectives of the work. There you show the reasons why its author worked on it and what was their motivation. 

- The short summary of the content because you shouldn't provide the description of all chapters, just the most significant parts. 

- For whom it can be interesting because your readers should see whether this article or book would be helpful for them in their research. 

- The distinctive features and how this work differs from other similar papers, what makes it special. 

- The connection with your topic and how much your objectives are similar to the author's objectives. 

- The strong and weak sides, and if you disagree with the author and their research results, you can also write about it. 

It is only a basic set of things you can include in this section. You should write everything that helps your readers in studying your paper and doing their own research.

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