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How to Write an Annotated Bibliography - Helpful Tips

Aug 15, 2018

Any academic assignment has a differing level of complexity. Some assignments are simple, and they take a few hours to complete. Nevertheless, there is another category of tasks that might cost you days and weeks to finish. After all, everything must be done in compliance with the guidelines that your teacher gives you. Writing an annotated bibliography is one of these tasks.

Before university or college students immerse themselves in writing, they spend a lot of time on finding answers to a bunch of study-related questions. The most complicated one is about how to find sources for the annotated bibliography. There are certain formatting rules, and if you wish to get an excellent grade, you should learn them inside out (or at least look through them).

The main motivation of this article is to help students understand how to write an annotated bibliography step by step, what instructions to follow, and how to format all the annotations correctly. In very deed, it is possible to solve any issue, even the trickiest one, and you just need to find the proper help to take the burden off of your shoulders and the right approach to exercise.

What is an Annotated Bibliography - a Clear Definition

An annotated bibliography is a properly organized list of all sources that you used while conducting your research. It looks like a simple list of references, but a short annotation must accompany each point on that list. Commonly, its length varies from 150 to 200 words.

When you check an annotated bibliography definition, it is easier to understand what your teacher wants you to do. For instance, you write a paper in psychology and use a bunch of different sources. You should add your own annotation to each reference to evaluate the significance and the primary role of this source for your research. This is a basis for assessment to help other scholars pick necessary resources when working on their own papers.

Besides, annotations perform a number of functions!

  • They help students create their own thesis statements.
  • They offer a detailed literature review.
  • They illustrate the significance of your research.
  • They provide the detailed information about the resources you used (significant for other scholars).

Furthermore, if you add annotations to each resource, you are likely to get a better grade.

In fact, your annotation is a summary. Nevertheless, depending on the type of your research and the subject area you explore, your annotation can act as:

  • Summary. It means that you should provide a short summary of this particular research. Why do you use it? What subject areas does it cover?
  • Explanation. You need to explain whether this book or article helps you conduct your research or not. Does it influence your viewpoint?
  • Assessment. You should compare this book to other resources that you mention.

In some instances, your annotated bibliography is to correspond to only one point. Nevertheless, there are situations when you need to cover all of them.

The Detailed Annotated Bibliography Format

Before students embark on a path of writing, they wish to find the answer to the question of how to format an annotated bibliography. This question is of major concern for most scholars because different colleges have varying requirements for the same task.

Currently, there are two sets of requirements you should pay attention to:

  • MLA format
  • APA format

Which one should you use? You should pose this question to your teacher or instructor. In this article, we discern both of them and analyze the main guidelines students should follow.

How to Use Annotated Bibliography APA Format?

Are you a student whose specialty is social sciences? If you are, read up on our guideline of how to write an annotated bibliography APA.

One cannot simply create a list of references at their own sweet will. It should meet certain requirements. The abbreviation APA stands for the American Psychological Association. This formatting style is commonly used with the aim to cite sources in the social sciences.

Writing an annotated bibliography in APA format is easy if you just follow the general guidelines (please look up the APA website for further inquiries). Firstly, when writing your resources, you should use a clear and understandable font. This guideline recommends the use of Times New Roman, size 12.

To start formatting your resources, you should do the following:

  • Select the sources you find useful. You should either visit a local library or do online research and select the material which can cover your topic well enough.
  • Review them thoroughly and select only those books, magazines, or online publications which are relevant to your subject area.
  • Write your own annotation. While doing this, answer the following questions: What is the primary target of this book? What is the targeted audience? What are the main merits and demerits of this book? Etc. In fact, you should write a short description of this resource.

Depending on what is required of you by your instructor, you can arrange all sources in the alphabetical or chronological order.

A short bibliography should come first followed by the annotation. Your bibliography should comprise the following data:

  • the author's name;
  • publication date;
  • name of the resource;
  • publisher.

What Should You Know about Annotated Bibliography MLA Style?

In some instances, students are asked to use another format, and for some of them writing an annotated bibliography MLA is easier than the one described above. Each citation or annotation you use in your assignment should adhere to the well-known MLA guidelines. Having read your annotation, your teacher will assess your ability to process the information and select the qualitative resources.

The structure is the following one:

  • the author's name;
  • the name of the professor;
  • the name of the course;
  • the due date.

After you enumerate this information, you should indicate the topic of your research and formulate your thesis statement. You can start writing your annotation now (started with a short bibliography and finished with an annotation). If you still can't understand how to write an annotated bibliography MLA, you should consult your teacher on all these points. Besides, there are situations where your instructor has rather specific requirements for the assignment. For that reason, before you start working on this task, you should discuss all aspects with your instructor.

The Best Annotated Bibliography Topics

Below, you can find a few annotated bibliography essay topics. It should be noted that this is just a free example. It may help you find inspiration and select valuable and fascinating topics to explore and write upon:

  1. What do you think of nuclear waste?
  2. What is your attitude toward gay marriage?
  3. What is the impact of slavery on the development of African society?
  4. Analyze the topic of business ethics. What rules do you follow?
  5. What is your attitude toward testing products on animals?

In fact, there are quite a plethora of choices to select from! It just takes time to pick the one for that is well-familiar to you and interesting to delve in.

Brief Annotated Bibliography Tips

Now that we have analyzed this topic, it is necessary to draw a conclusion by listing the tips for writing an annotated bibliography:

  • Ask your instructor which format to use.
  • Learn the MLA and APA guidelines before you start writing.
  • Use only truthful resources. Double-check the information before you use it.
  • While writing an annotation, you should define the main purpose of the book you have selected, the way it has influenced and shaped your opinions and mindset. Describe whether this resource helped you conduct your research or not.
  • Your annotation shouldn't exceed 200 words.

What to Do If You Need Help Writing an Annotated Bibliography?

As you can probably guess, this task is time-sapping. Otherwise stated, you need to spend a few hours on writing all the annotations, and that's on top of formatting them correctly. If you have a busy agenda in general, say part-time employment, or you'd better hang out with your friends, please, consider making the services of custom writing agencies your ongoing help. Writers like us are willing to help, and good grades are always worth it.

We gladly help students cope with the challenges they meet during their college studies. So, if you really need help writing an annotated bibliography, you should contact us - a reputable custom writing service made to meet your demands!

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