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How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

What is the purpose of this guide?

We wrote this short guide to help you with your annotated bibliography writing, to make you understand why it is important for any researcher and to describe all possible bibliography' types and citation styles (APA, MLA, CBE and so on).

We consider you to be a well-experienced writer and you should know that any college writing work or research demands an annotated bibliography as an important part of the work. What an annotated bibliography is used for? It is used for indication of all sources you have used during your research or other work writing. It should include the description and elucidation of any source you cited at.

Many students usually have the same question: "Why should I write an annotated bibliography?" Let us explain why. The most important reason is to show to your auditory that you have provided a substantial research work and a literature studying, and that's why all your suppositions and their arguments have a great base. Rely on your annotated bibliography your readers can study resources you've used and either satisfy with your work or make a decision to provide their own research. In any case your work won't leave unnoticed and unvalued by anybody. That drives us at second reason of annotated bibliography writing. Just imagine the situation: your work is ready, you had a presentation and some of your readers made a decision to study some of your sources. A simple bibliography will just give a list of them and that's all. But you are brilliant researcher, aren't you? And that's why you've made an annotated bibliography. What for? As opposed to a bibliography an annotated bibliography can propose to your reader peculiar and special information about any of your sources. When you write a particular research work it means that you should know almost everything about the topic you chose and that's why you are able to:

On the assumption of all mentioned before you should consider your work to be a sort of dialogue between two persons concerned with the same topic. And your annotated bibliography is that thing which gives you the opportunity to provide advice about literature which he or she should read firstly, what to read for "overall development" and what they should avoid in any case.

Ok, we have discussed the reasons of annotated bibliography writing. Now let's speak about the tasks of it. So, the objectives of a good annotated bibliography are:

Now let's discuss the essential elements of any annotated bibliography irrespective of the citation style you have (APA, MLA etc):

Remember that items 1-4 are the essential parts of any annotated bibliography and you should include them in any case. The other items are more analytical ones and you can add them to some other point without indication. Sometimes the researcher should include some other points depending on the annotation type he has. Discuss it with your supervisor beforehand.

If you have to write a spacious research paper (more than 10 pages) you will see the material divided into separate groups based on their content or some other criteria. But we suppose you won't write anything like this. But in case you will you should consult with you supervisor for a preferable list of sources.

The other important annotated bibliography feature is citation style. This is the thing which will influence on all annotated bibliography writing. Before you start your writing you have to choose among all available styles and pick out the most suitable one depending on the work style and studying area. But irrespective of a citation style you have remember two main points of bibliography formatting:

All these position you can and should discuss with your supervisor because as usual this person has its own point of view of things. The annotation type is also depends on the citation style too.

Now look through different annotation types. Their selection depends on your purposes and intention to present to your reader particular information in a proper form. We want to draw your attention on that fact that an annotation' type doesn't depend on the citation style you use. That's why it is fully your choice. Make a decision by yourself or ask your supervisor about his preferences. If it is you who make the final decision just use your research assignment and try to get as much as possible information from there.

Types of annotation

1. Summary annotation

2. Informative annotation

May look like plain summarizing but also they give some additional information about the author and his work.

3. Indicative annotation

This type of annotation doesn't give any information about the argument but it presents the questions and results your work had set.

4. Critical annotation

This annotation style doesn't make only summarizing but also execute the following tasks:

Now let's speak about some kinds of writing styles:

Having read this guide you surely will get a piece of useful information about the annotated bibliography writing. You see that this process isn't an easy drive and demands hard work and careful thinking and preparation. Read all advices, produce your own tactics, pay attention on citation style you need to use and everything will be all right.

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