1. What is an Annotated Bibliography?

The annotated bibliography is, by definition, a compressive list of citations to various documents, online journals, books, or articles placed at the end of a research paper, assignments or proposal. Each one of the citations is briefly described, usually in no more than 100-150 words. The purpose of each description is to inform the reader of the resources that have been used to prove the study’s conclusion. It measures its accuracy and relevance.

2. What is The Structure of Annotated Bibliography? How Long Should It Be?

The annotated bibliography should take no more than three paragraphs or 150 words. It’s important to keep your references clear and concise. You should under no circumstances confuse the readers or provide incorrect citations.

3. What should be included in annotated bibliography? Writing an Annotated Bibliography.

The structure of annotated bibliography should be brief and clear. Here are the steps of the process.

  • Search and write down the location of your favorite citations to different e-books, journals, scientific magazines, periodicals, or documents that could contain useful information for your subject of interest.
  • Examine each citation and review the articles that you’ve encountered in detail.
  • Choose the most useful citations for your topic and provide a wide variety of opinions on the issue debated.
  • Now cite the documents using the style that is required.

There are different citation styles. The format of annotated bibliography differs for each one of them. The most common ones are:

  • MLA or Modern Language Association – designed for the humanities in general, but can be used in any context; references contain the author, the title, the publication info, and the date; the works cited are ordered alphabetically;
  • APA or the American Psychological Association – excellent for any social science subject; references contain the author, date, the title of work, and the source of information; the works cited are ordered alphabetically;
  • Chicago – one of the oldest and most comprehensive style guides; comes in two formats: includes bibliography and notes or author name and dates.
  • AMA or American Medical Association – citations are numbers and appear numerically at the end of the text; uses Index Medicus abbreviations.

4. How to select appropriate sources

To select the appropriate resources for your research, there are some basic steps you might have to cover.

First, check the details and research requirements with your instructor. If, for instance, they are against using Wikipedia as a source of information, respect the rules. Don’t use Wikipedia. Instead, scroll down on Wikipedia’s citation page and choose your favorite references from there.

Next, know your resources! Which are the primary, which are the secondary? Hint: primary resources are original pieces, while secondary resources contain info that’s already been interpreted and adjusted. Some quick advice –

  • Ask a digital media specialist to point you towards the right and useful resources and show you the difference between types
  • Check academic journals first, since they are the most compact form of information. You can check Google Scholar or Microsoft for numerous articles on the topic you need.
  • Check the books! They contain more information than websites do, so they are an even more reliable source.
  • Check the websites with caution. Everybody can post on the web, so you should not trust all the articles popping up when you introduce a keyword. Instead of using fake information, better stick to the offline resources and Google Scholar.
  • Use Wikipedia as a starting point for your research, but don’t cite it!

Third, prepare annotated bibliography carefully. Choosing between different types of online or offline resources can be challenging, so you must cut off on the ones you will most likely not utilize. You could choose between books and eBooks, journals and scientific magazines, newspapers and encyclopedias, or article databases and any other online resource, such as recordings, interviews, infographics, etc.

The next step is checking the resources chosen with your instructor and asking a librarian’s opinion. If you need help with the material, ask your professor.

5. How to Write an Annotated Bibliography, Step-By-Step Instruction

Depending on the style you’ve chosen, you will need to use different format instructions. Here is an example of annotated bibliography creation process using MLA style.

Step #1: Select your citation style. We will use MLA for this example since more than 50% of instructors prefer this format. However, you should try to be as specific as possible, depending on your instructor’s requests.

Step #2: Choose the resource type. Let’s use Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for this example. Your resource type in this scenario – film/movie/video.

Step #3: Add additional information such as the year the movie has been released, the media type, the director’s name, etc. Write down the summary of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and how this connects with what you wish to prove.

Step #4: Watch the small details and respect the paper’s formats. Check with your instructor for this step as well.

The components of annotated bibliography in MLA style and final format should look similar to this:

Yates, David, director. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Warner Bros. Pictures, 2009.

To learn how to write an annotated bibliography, here is the template you should use:

  • Author’s last and first name (last, first)
  • The title of the source in Italics
  • The title of the container, if any
  • The name of other contributors, if any (in this example, co-directors for instance)
  • The version and the number
  • The publisher or the director
  • The date it’s been published
  • The location of the source if needed
  • The summary

6.Examples of Annotated Bibliography

Here you can find some extra examples of annotated bibliography for e-books, online journals, and websites.

For e-books: Campbell, Joseph. The Power of Myth / Joseph Campbell. Doubleday, 1988.

For online journals: Irimia R., Gottschling M. Taxonomic Revision of Rochefortia Sw. (Ehretiaceae, Boraginales). Biodiversity Data Journal, 2016.

For websites: Ramana, M. V. Should We Subsidize Nuclear Power to Fight Climate Change? Scientific American Blog Network, 3 Dec. 2018.