Annotated Bibliography: Learn All About Writing It

What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

A lot of students ask the question, what is an annotated bibliography? The issue mainly comes after a student has perfected the art of citation both in the APA and MLA formats. They then discover that they have to learn new formatting of annotated bibliography APA and annotated bibliography MLA. An annotated bibliography provides a list of citations to documents, books, and articles. Every citation made is then followed by a short evaluative and descriptive paragraph which is the annotation. Depending on the assignment that you are working on, in some, you may be asked to summarize, reflect, analyze, critique or evaluate the source.

An annotated bibliography may be an independent project or a part of a bigger research project. You can have an annotation as brief as a sentence, but a typical annotated bibliography consists of a citation which is then followed by a brief paragraph.

Purpose of an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography may aim to serve different purposes. It will all depend on the specifics of your assignment. It may, therefore:

  • Focus on a particular subject and review its literature
  • Establish the depth and quality of reading on your part
  • Demonstrate the scope of available sources, for example, books, journals, and articles
  • Underline references which may interest researchers or other readers in general
  • Organize and explore sources for future research

How to Go About Writing an Annotated Bibliography That Stands Out

Before you begin your assignment, it is important to note that not all annotated bibliographies are written in the same style. As earlier mentioned, some may primarily include informative and summary annotations. On the other hand, others may include a critique of sources. Never start on your assignment if you are not clear which type is required by your professor. Instead, you should always ask the exact requirements.

For you to create an annotated bibliography, you have to apply a variety of intellectual skills including knowledgeable library research, brief exposition, and concise analysis. Carefully define the scope of your study to help you make judgments on what to exclude or include.

So what are the steps that you should take before writing an annotated bibliography? The process mainly consists of three steps: Citing, Summarizing, and Evaluating

  • Citation

You may be required to cite your source in any citation style including APA and MLA. Whichever format that you have to follow, it is critical that your entry begins with a full bibliography entry. Here, we will focus on both APA annotated bibliography and MLA annotated bibliography formats.

Below is an annotated bibliography example in APA bibliography format:

Robertson, A. (2012). “Importance of fairy tales.” Psychology Today

(13)2, 210-222.

And below is an example of MLA annotated bibliography format-8th edition:

Robertson, Ann. “Importance of fairy tales.” Psychology Today, vol. 13,

  1. 2, 2012, pp. -222
  • Summarizing the Source

A summary aims to explain the main ideas of the source. When a reader is going through your summary, they should be able to know what the source is about exactly. You should state what the source is about briefly and objectively.

For example, a summary of an article may look like:

Dr. Robertson’s article reasons that fairy tales are significant as they help children learn the moral stories of right and wrong. They also assist in providing an outlet where children can release their emotions. Also, fairy tales aid children in their critical thinking and development of their imagination while they journey with these characters to magical lands.

  • Evaluating the Source

When evaluating the source, in a brief paragraph or two, you should convey to the readers your thoughts on the source and how it fits your research. Here, you should be able to answer questions such as:

  • Did I find the author to be credible?
  • Are there parts that I liked and others that I didn’t like about the source?
  • Are the arguments that I made effective?
  • Does the author support the arguments that they made?
  • Are there strengths and weaknesses and what are they?
  • What is the best possible way to incorporate this source into my paper?

When you figure out your answers, your evaluation should look like this:

With experience in elementary education, Dr. Robertson is a renowned psychologist for the children. Her work is highly credible based on several considerations, and her articles get published in several peer-reviewed journals.

The article will play a brilliant role as a reference for my assignment since its studies are recent and are about the appreciation of children for fairy tales. It also features discussions in details of why fairy tales are valuable to children. In my introduction, I may be able to use interviews with children which Dr. Robertson has included in the article.

Online Annotated Bibliography Maker

For your final step, all you have to do is put it all together and ensure that the APA annotated bibliography or annotated bibliography MLA format is proper. Even though writing your annotated bibliography in these small steps helps make it easier, some students still find the task intimidating. An online annotated bibliography maker looks out for the details of sources used and can correctly format your annotated bibliography. It makes sure that the guidelines of your MLA annotated bibliography or APA bibliography format are in place.

Conclusion

From the above, it is now easy for you to answer ‘what is an annotated bibliography?’ You should write an annotation that’s brief and can summarize the central scope and theme of the article or book. If you choose to write using the style of annotated bibliography APA, all you have to do is follow the above steps. Remember that the usefulness and quality of your bibliography will be entirely dependent on the sources that you select. With the help of annotated bibliography maker, you can perfect your assignment to the last detail. For any further assistance, you can always look for an annotated bibliography example online. Always remember that your summary should be concise.