An annotation bibliography could be referred to as a reference list. Practically, you have a list of sources organized in a nice and easy to read way. It looks similar to a straightforward bibliography, yet every reference comes with an annotation – normally up to 200 words in length. Learning how to write an annotated bibliography may seem simple, but there are a few general rules to follow.
Decide on the purpose
Every annotated bibliography has a purpose, so you have to determine the purpose of yours. Some of them can bring in a literature review on a specific topic. Others will help coming up with a thesis on the topic. Other bibliographies will prove the research you have done prior to writing your essay, not to mention providing a few sources of extra information for specific subjects.
You can also use an annotated bibliographies to introduce your readers or other researchers to items that could be interesting. Now, what are the steps to follow?
Decide on the sources
It is important to choose the right sources before even considering how to write an annotated bibliography. No matter what the rules are, you will need to mention the sources, so this step is quite general.
To get sources, get on research. Read, discover, jump from one link or book to another and so on. Find materials that can apply to your subject, locate records of them and write all the details down – such as the link, the book, the publishing house and year and so on.
Review your sources
The more sources you come up with, the better. You do not have to mention all of them, especially if you have only borrowed an idea or a paragraph only. Instead, focus on the ones that provide plenty of information. You need as many varieties on the subject as possible.
Go through each source and analyze it. Is it something your readers will get lots of info from? If it is just a small article, it may not be worth your attention. Also, make sure they are extremely reputable and credible – not just a random blog written by someone who you have never heard about.
Keep in mind that article abstracts could help during this step.
Write the annotation and citation
Once you have the right sources, it is time to get to work. When writing annotations, you must start with the citation first. It always comes first, with the annotation right after it. There are more types of information to include, but it normally depends on the type of bibliography you want.
For instance, you could include the purpose of the work, as well as the relevance to the topic. You could also mention a summary of the content, not to mention the ideal type of audience to enjoy it. Are there any special features of your research material? Make sure you mention them. You can also go for the biases, pluses, and minuses of the material.
When it comes to organizing your annotated bibliography, you have two different options – chronologically or alphabetically. Your professor should tell you how to do it – if there are no instructions, you can ask or simply go with whatever seems more suitable.
Format the citations
This is another aspect you should discuss with the professor. Citations must be thoroughly formatted. You can format citations based on MLA, APA, or Chicago Style. There are different styles out there and most professors will mention the one they desire. If there are no instructions, it is up to you then – just a matter of personal preferences.
As a short final conclusion, an annotated bibliography may seem relatively simple at first. You just have to mention some of the sources used in your research. It is imperative to come up with the right sources. Go through all of them and make sure they provide valuable information to your readers.
At the end of the day, it is usually the small work that kills you and ruins everything. There are certain rules you need to follow in the process, whether it comes to formatting or arrangements. Fortunately, learning how to write an annotated bibliography is usually a matter of these details. Once you master them, the whole process becomes a breeze.