Simply put, annotated bibliography is a list of resources that you’ve used in your written work. Annotation is a precise description of a certain source. However, it is not to be confused with work cited list, or basic list of references arranged in accordance to the required referencing style, like MLA or APA. Annotated bibliography implies presence of brief annotations for each used source of information.
One of the great functions of annotation is that it makes it possible to establish the basic content of the scientific article, to determine its relevance and to decide whether to refer to the full text of the article. The annotation should include a description of the main theme, the problem of scientific articles, the objectives of the work and its results. The annotations indicate what is new in this article in comparison with other, related by subject and purpose.
Also, having to write an annotated bibliography shouldn’t be perceived as something of a negative nature, something that wastes time. The truth is it’s a wonderful method of double-checking your choices, learning more about someone else’s work, and re-evaluating our own research anew. It helps you to not only find relevant information, but also better analyze it. While writing an annotated bibliography, you will find out will this source be useful for you or not.
There are several purposes of writing an annotated bibliography:
- Analysis of literature on a given topic
- To show that your research has a high quality
- Inform a reader with other facts, which might be interesting for him
- Explore the topic even further
Also, there are different ways to organize your annotated bibliography:
- By format (for example, articles, books, magazines, web pages, media)
- By language
- By subtopic
To end up with a solid annotated bibliography, you might want to include some important elements:
- Qualifications of the authors
- Purpose. Main idea of the source
- Indicate the level of reading difficulty and to whom this article was addressed
- Connection to other works related to the chosen topic
- Results and conclusions
Requirements for the actual annotations may differ depending on your teacher’s demands, and expectations. One explanatory comment for one reference usually is not long, and takes approximately, 100-150 word. Usually, you have to write such works in third person, from a position of a reviewer, that is. Don’t miss on referencing author’s main notions. Annotated bibliographies can be required to be done in different referencing formats, such as MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian, Harvard etc. As a rule, you will be instructed on that part.
To sum up, writing an annotated bibliography makes student learn how to do better in summarizing, analyzing and research. It improves different skills at the same time. Annotated bibliography gives readers a chance to discover the quality and relevance of the sources cited.
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