Writing an Annotated Bibliography


Before you start writing an annotated bibliography, make sure you know enough about this type of assignment. Firstly, you should define whether your annotated bibliography is a separate project or a part of the larger one. Anyway, it is always written in an alphabetical list and presents the account of the research done on a given topic. Basically, it is a concise summary of each source. Widely, it also gives a kind of assessment of the value of each source.

Selecting the sources.

The quality and usefulness of your bibliography will depend on your selection of sources. Define the scope of your research carefully so that you can make good judgments about what to include and exclude. Your research should attempt to be reasonably comprehensive within well-defined boundaries. Consider these questions to help you find appropriate limits for your research:

Selecting the sources is as important as writing an annotated bibliography itself. You should carefully choose all works for your research so that you could assess what information is to be included. There are some useful tips given to students who do not know what to make a start from to write a quality and useful annotated bibliography.

First of all, define the problem you are investigating and the issues that should be resolved. It works well when the topic is expressed in the form of a question for it gives the precise points to be highlighted. Secondly, try to exclude the unnecessary material and find the essential studies on your topic.
The purpose of writing an annotation is to shortly restate the main arguments of many sources. Writing an annotation bibliography is not simply about listing the sources, but explaining the reasons why this or that content is there.

Assessing the value of sources.

While assessing the value of the sources, consider the type that your bibliography refers to. If it is a part of a research project, think why and how you are going to use the source. If it is a separate project, define the contribution of each source to the research.

If you are not sure whether this or that source will be useful for your project, assess the quality of the argument. It is easy to find out. All you need to do is give answers to such questions as: is the method of investigation effective? is the evidence similar to your conclusions? is the research problem well-defined?

For those who find it difficult to define what vocabulary would be relevant while writing an annotated bibliography, the list below will be useful.