How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

Most students are aware of bibliographical references. But just knowing what it is will not be enough to prepare the bibliographical data in the proper manner. It is very important to know how to go about the task. There are many methods by which you can cite your sources. It will be included in the guidelines as to how it should be done. Certain types of references require the student only to mention the page number, title of the book, name of the author and the edition. But there is yet another type, which asks for more details, called annotated bibliography.

Annotated bibliography needs the details of the sources to be annotated, or explained. This will be done in as elaborated a way as that of an essay; but it will be short and precise with a word limit of around 200words for each annotation. The purpose of an annotated bibliography is to ascertain the level of your knowledge of the sources you chose for your research and also, the reliability of the book and the author. Hence you will have to keep aside some time to collect relevant information on the sources to include in it.

Your annotation will give the information on the author’s educational background, past achievements and other relevant works as well. While writing on the educational background of the author, pick only the most relevant information. Remember that there is a word limit for your annotation. Find out the educational background of the author which justifies your choice of the author as your source. The same applies to the author’s past achievements also. You are expected to mention only the most relevant ones which are related to your topic. And relevant works, in this context, would mean the other books written by the same author on the same topic or similar, related topics. You can also mention why you chose this particular one above the rest. Remember that an annotated bibliography is meant to prove the credibility of the author as a source for a research paper on that specific topic.

You should also give a brief explanation of the theme and contents of the book which you have used as the source. There are certain books which are not concentrated on the topic you are researching on but are done on the subject with a chapter dedicated to the topic. If that is the case, it needs to be mentioned clearly. The rest of the topics mentioned in the book can be briefly mentioned, if relevant enough.

Some books are too huge and the subject matter too wide or scattered to be included in a brief annotation. If it is not possible to include the contents of the book into a couple of short lines, then you can just give a brief explanation of the topics discussed in it. It is very important to keep your annotations brief enough to fit into the word limit.

Precise writing skills are absolutely necessary to be able to write a very good annotated bibliography, considering the fact that you need to include a lot of information into a very short paragraph. If you need any kind of help with research paper bibliography, our experienced academic writers will be able to help you.


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