How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

A trivial question for many students.

While the bibliography is generally referred to as an alphabetical listing of books used during paper writing, annotated bibliography writing is a much more complex task.

When answering the question “how to write an annotated bibliography”, you should first select the sources from which you have drawn information.Every annotated bibliography entry will differ depending on the source type: whether it is an article or an interview, a report or a book.

A standard annotated bibliography entry outlines the citation information of the consulted source, such as author name, date of publication and title of a work, publisher’s name and location.

In order to understand how to write an annotated bibliography, you should keep in mind the primary purpose of bibliographic citations: assist the reader in finding the sources used when writing a paper.

Writing Annotated Bibliography: Composition

The major difference between a regular annotation and an annotated bibliography entry is that works’ citation information in an annotated bibliography is followed by a short paragraph on average of three to six sentences, which is approximately 150 words.

Start writing an annotated bibliography by:

  • Evaluating the scope of the resources to be researched and included as entries into an annotated bibliography
  • Research and retrieval of material
  • Evaluate the sources found and write down impressions and important ideas
  • Provide full citation data in accordance with a specific citation format, e.g. APA, MLA, Harvard, Turabian, Chicago
  • Write an annotation for each source

Annotations can be composed either with complete sentences or as verb phrases, depending on the initial instructions.

By this moment, you should know exactly what information you will be including in an annotated bibliography. Be sure to include:

  • main purpose of the work;
  • description of both format and content;
  • intended audience of the work and author’s credentials;
  • possible shortcomings and biases, as evaluated by you;
  • your own impression of the work.

Writing Annotated Bibliography: Tips

  • Avoid listing a source more than once
  • Write critical abstracts and include your critical opinion rather than purely descriptive annotations
  • Choose the correct format for citations and follow strictly the format required, e.g. APA, MLA, Harvard, Turabian, Chicago
  • Paraphrase rather than quote
  • Concentrate on the significant features of the book
  • Carefully write down the name of the author, year and place of publication, publisher information

Still not sure how to write an annotated bibliography?

Well, no wonder!

Annotated bibliography requires persistence and experience.

Annotated bibliography writing does not demonstrate in-depth knowledge of an academic subject.As such, a student would end up knowing more if he or she were to devote time to regular studying.

Why not leave annotated bibliography writing to professionals with years of experience in the field?

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