Most students struggle with writing an annotated bibliography. In fact, the majority are unfamiliar with what an annotated bibliography is until they are promoted to write one. Annotated bibliographies are usually different from other essays that are written where, one can easily identify the difference by simply looking at the structure that is used in writing the annotated bibliography.
What is an Annotated Bibliography?
A bibliography can simply be described as a list of sources such as books and articles that may be used in coming up with a research paper. However, when writing an annotated bibliography, one not only has to annotate the sources that are used but they also have to provide information about these sources. Therefore, an annotated bibliography can be described as a description and evaluation of various sources that are used in coming up with a research paper.
It is therefore essential to note that when preparing an annotated bibliography, one must not only give the sources that are used but they must also give a summary and evaluation of those sources. However, although a basic format is used in coming up with an annotation, one must ensure that the feedback that is given is in line with the instructions that are provided by the instructor.
When coming up with an annotated bibliography, one has to ensure that they provide a bibliography that should be followed by an evaluation or analysis of the source. Based on the instructions that are provided, one may be required to summarize, assess, and reflect on the source that has been used.
Reasons for Writing an Annotated Bibliography
In most cases, students are required to write an annotated bibliography by their instructor. However, there exists various reasons that make writing annotated bibliographies useful for students.
- Understanding a Topic
Writing an annotated bibliography is a useful step towards understanding the topic that is used in research. At first, it enables an individual to collect and understand the sources that are in line with the topic that is studied. This way, one is able to review details that are related to a topic of study that helps them understand the topic well. With a clear insight on the topic, one is in a position to come up with a well-detailed research paper. Therefore, an annotated bibliography can be considered as a gateway to coming up with a detailed research paper.
- Understanding the Sources
When writing an annotated bibliography, one is forced to critically read through the sources that are selected. This because, in order to create the annotated bibliography, one has to provide a summary and an analysis of the sources that are used. This way one gets to have a clear overview of the sources that are used in coming up with the research paper.
- Preparation for Writing Research Papers
It is therefore clear that writing an annotated bibliography is an essential step that is undertaken when preparing to come up with a research paper. One is able to evaluate the sources that are to be used that ensures that the right sources are used for research. Therefore, once an individual has developed an annotated bibliography, they are more likely to spend less time coming up with the final research paper. In addition, one is able to create a well-researched paper. Therefore, by following guidelines that are discussed in the next part, one can be in a position to create an annotated bibliography.
Basic Guidelines in Writing an Annotated Bibliography
One should begin by providing a summary of the source where one should provide a general overview of the main details that are discussed. For instance, in the case of an article, one can choose to give a summary of the main details that are discussed. On the other hand, in the case of a book, one can choose to discuss the main topics that are covered. However, since the length of the annotation is very significant, one should ensure that the information that is provided is brief and precise.
By simply going through a summary that is provided in an annotated bibliography, one gets to have a clear insight into the source that is used. This way, it is possible to make a good judgment on whether the source that is used fits in the underlying context.
In writing an annotated bibliography, one should also ensure that they provide an assessment of the sources that are given. This implies that an individual should evaluate the information that is provided in the sources by providing details on reliability. For instance, one can should to write about the validity of the information that is provided in the annotated bibliography. Alternatively, one can also choose to write about whether the details that are provided are biased or not.
Through assessment, creates an impression about the reliability of a source. It ensures that one uses sources that are reliable in research. In the process of evaluating the sources, one is also able to get a clear insight into the information that is provided in the source. Therefore, assessment is an important process in writing an annotated bibliography since it ensures that sources that are used in research are valid and reliable.
Once an individual has given a summary and an analysis of a source, they should then reflect on the source by showing how the source fits in the research that is conducted. In this part, one should consider providing information about how the information provided shapes their argument and its usefulness. For instance, one can decide to provide information on whether their source may have changed their orientation towards the topic that is studied.
Therefore, when writing an annotated bibliography, one should ensure that they include the three parts that have been discussed. In a nutshell, at first, an annotated bibliography should give a summary or overview of the source that is used. The second guideline is that an annotated bibliography should give an evaluation of the source where details should be provided about the relevance of the information given. Lastly, one should reflect on the usefulness of the information provided based on how the details shape a person’s point of view.
However, it is important to acknowledge that the annotated bibliography may include all three or some of the parts. In other cases, one may also be required to adhere to additional guidelines based on the instructions that are provided. Although the guidelines that are provided are essential, when writing an annotated bibliography for coursework, it is always essential to consider the precise guidelines that are provided by an instructor.
Additional Guidelines in Writing an Annotated Bibliography
In writing annotated bibliographies, one should begin by writing the citation after which they should include the annotation. Therefore, this implies that the annotated bibliography has two major parts that comprise the citation and the annotation.
Selecting Appropriate Sources
Although proper guidelines have to be followed when writing an annotated bibliography, the quality of the annotated bibliography usually depends on the quality of the sources that are used. Therefore, one has to ensure that they select the sources that are in line with the topic that is researched.
To come up with the most appropriate sources for the annotated bibliography, one has to ensure that they begin by identifying the problem that is being investigated. For instance, if the annotated bibliography is based on a research paper, one has to determine the main topics of issues that have to be addressed in the research paper.
Another important insight that should be considered when writing an annotated bibliography is that an individual should also consider the type of material that is needed. For instance, one should determine whether they are required to use books, scholarly articles, blogs, and other sources in writing the annotated bibliography.
Formats Used in Writing the Citations
The citation that is used should be formatted using the writing style that the instructor has recommended. Therefore, some of the common styles that can be used while writing an annotated bibliography are APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago styles. Regardless of the style that is used, the citations should be included before the annotations. In addition, one should ensure that hanging indents are used and preferably, the citations should be bolded as shown in the section below. For more help on the writing styles that can be used, one can check the resources that are as follows; MLA handout, APA handout.
General Guidelines in Writing the Annotation
This is the main part in an annotated bibliography. The annotation is approximately one paragraph that has 100-300 words. As discussed the annotation should give a summary of the sources, assessment, and evaluation. Where required, the annotation can also give a summary of the strengths and weaknesses of the source. One can also include their conclusions about the source that mostly falls under evaluation. Most importantly, one should ensure that they record their reactions to the source
Annotated Bibliography Samples
Deem, Nicki. “Adoption Has Changed in The Last 20 Years- Adoption Week.” Adoption Week Online Magazine | News, Articles, Awareness, 29 Apr. 2019, adoptionweek.com/adoption-is-different/.
This article discusses the various ways in which adoption has changed over the past 20 years. The author Nicki Deem explains how adoption is different today and how various factors such as the internet have changed the way people perceive adoption. One idea that has been raised is that social media has made adoption very easy and interesting. In addition, the internet has also changed the attitude that people have towards adoption which has led to acceptance. This has been enabled by the ability of the people to discuss and address real issues that concern adoption (Deem). The information that is put across in this article is definitely true. The internet has led to a transformation in most things around the globe and adoption is not an exception. This article is also good since it paints a good picture around adoption which can serve as motivation and encouragement for people planning to adopt a child.
Analysis of the Annotated Bibliography
This example comprises an annotated bibliography for a newspaper article. As explained, the annotated bibliography has two parts that comprise the bibliography and the annotation. Based on this example, three major guidelines that are followed in writing an annotated bibliography have been followed.
In the first part, a summary of the main issues that are discussed in the article has been given. On the other hand, in the second part, an assessment of the article has been given. Lastly, the annotated bibliography explains how the information in the article influences the topic being researched.
Palacios, Jesús, and Brodzinsky, David. “Review: Adoption Research: Trends, Topics, Outcomes.” International Journal of Behavioral Development, vol. 34, no. 3, May 2010, pp. 270–284, doi:10.1177/0165025410362837.
This article provides a review of research that is based on adoption since adoption was incepted as an area of study. The two authors, Palacios and Brodzinsky have identified three historical trends with regard to research that is related to adoption. The first trend is based on various risks that are involved in adoption and the difficulties that are experienced in adjustment by the parties that are involved. The second trend is related to the ability of the children that are adopted children to recover from challenges that they may have experienced at an early age. The third issue that is dealt with focuses on the psychological and biological context of children that are trying to adjust to adoption (Palacios and Brodzinsky). This research article can be regarded as being both informative and explorative. The issues raised are very significant to the subject of adoption since they concern critical aspects such as how the parties involved adjust to the situation. This helps to address some of the critical issues related to this topic that are rarely discussed which is very essential.
Analysis of the Annotated Bibliography
This example also gives a clear illustration of the guidelines that should be followed when writing an annotated bibliography. As seen, the annotated bibliography has 2 parts that include the bibliography and the annotation. The annotation is approximately one paragraph (100-300 words). This annotated bibliography gives a clear insight into the source being used that comprises a journal.
In the first part of the annotated bibliography, a clear summary or insight of the main issues discussed in the journal has been given. In the second part, an assessment of the information has been provided. Lastly, a reflection has been given based on how the article informs the article that is researched.
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