Tips for Writing an Annotated Bibliography Essay

Annotated bibliographies provide brief details on a topic.  It includes a list of sources used by the writer to conduct research.  Detailed evaluations and clear descriptions are also included.  Assignments may require the writer to briefly summarize or reflect, criticize, or analyze a source. The essay can be an assignment in itself or be an added component to larger assignments with citations added.  When it comes to essays, they are considered an expanded form of a standard bibliography.  A paragraph is usually added (also known as the annotation) which makes it different from a regular bibliography.  The following suggestions can be helpful in writing your annotated bibliography.

  • Understand why you are required to write an annotated bibliography; why is needed, what does it need to look like and how do I get started?
  • You should be able to give an overview of the research completed on the topic.  This means you should have a good idea on different sources available with related data.
  • Some find it helpful to write the annotated bibliography before completing research.  In some cases it may be initiated before the writer follows through with guidelines related to their research paper.
  • If you are creating an essay for publication you’ll want to double check source information for accuracy and credibility.
  • Each bibliography entry may include up to 5 sentences.  The sentences should be a summary related to source content.  It may tell why the source was important to the topic.  It may support your thesis, had strengths to back up evidence or gave a different point-of-view.
  • Make a list of your sources to help you get started.  The amount may vary based on research scope but it can lead to additional sources you may find beneficial. 
  • How you use or read each source may affect which one you decide to include in your essay.  You may need to spend more time in reading sources thoroughly before making choices.  Your instructor may advise on reading parts of it instead if you don’t need to read it in its entirety. 
  • When you list your entries do so in alphabetic order.  This allows them to be presented in an orderly manner and it ensures sources were not left out. 
  • Find free samples online to get an idea of how it should look.  Follow assignment instructions given and get clarification from your instructor when necessary.

 

 

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