Tips For Writing Annotated Bibliographies
An annotated bibliography is a list of books or other works that includes descriptive comments, known as annotations, about the sources cited in your paper. The list is usually presented in alphabetical order, listed according to the authors’ surnames.
Annotated bibliographies allow readers to refer to a citation in your bibliography and gain further insight into what inspired the use of a particular text or argument before accessing the resources themselves to delve deeper into an interpretation or claim. A complete annotated bibliography encourages the reader to think critically about the works you are using and how it relates to your own research and ideas. It demonstrates that you understand your sources and establishes your own work as part of an academic conversation.
There are two main elements of an annotated bibliography: the citation and the annotation. The citation provides the author, title, date and other details about your source and the annotation describes and evaluates the content of the source itself.
In this article, we will cover a few tips for writing annotated bibliographies so you can present the information in the correct manner.
1. Thoroughly read and evaluate each resource. An annotated bibliography forces you to read each resource that much more carefully so examine each of your resources with a critical eye before deciding whether to cite it in your paper.
2. Be aware of the citation style that is requested or one that you have settled on. There are several different citation styles including MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), CBE/CSE (Council of Biology Editors/Council of Science Editors). It is important to know the distinction between these styles and only use the one requested by your professor.
3. Choose one style for writing the content of the annotation between telescopic and paragraph form. The former is a minimalist treatment that serves to be informational without sacrificing clarity while the latter is a more in-depth description or evaluation with often a paragraph for each cited work.
4. Provide a clear and concise explanation of why the work is directly relevant and how it relates to your research and ideas. The reader should be left no doubt about why this particular work was used or whether you have a complete understanding of how it relates to your ideas.
The helpfulness and quality of your bibliography will rest on your range of sources. Outline the scope of your research prudently so that you can make sensible judgments about what to include and omit. Your research must attempt to be reasonably inclusive within distinct boundaries. It is important to remember that the reader of an annotated bibliography is likely to read other papers that cover an area similar to your topic. They want to gain insight not only into your work but that of the work used to arrive to your conclusion. The annotated bibliography should leave no doubt about why the cited works were essential to your ideas.
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