What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents, whose content or material has been used in the current study or research paper, the purpose of which is to highlight the value of the reference material or why it is important to the current academic paper or study.

Each annotated citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. As stated before, the purpose of an annotated bibliography is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited in a given academic paper.

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How to Write an Annotations List

Writing a list of annotations calls for the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research.

First, locate and record citations to books, periodicals, and documents that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic.

Briefly examine and review the actual items. Then choose those works that provide a variety of perspectives on your topic.

Cite the book, article, or document using the appropriate academic referencing style.

Write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article.

Include one or more sentences that;

  • evaluate the authority or background of the author
  • comment on the intended audience
  • compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or
  • explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic.

What is the Difference between Annotated Bibliography and Regular Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources used in writing an academic paper (like a reference list). It differs from a straightforward or regular bibliography in that each reference is followed by a paragraph length annotation, usually 100–200 words in length.

Purpose of an Annotated Bibliography

Depending on the assignment, an annotated bibliography might have different purposes:

  • Provide a literature review on a particular subject
  • Help to formulate a thesis on a subject of academic writing
  • Demonstrate the research you have performed on a particular subject
  • Provide examples of major sources of information available on the topic of a scholarly paper
  • Describe items that other researchers may find being of scholarly interest on a given topic