Great Annotated Bibliography Writing
For most students, bibliographical references are nothing but fillers at the end of their work, something that they have to do just because they’ve been asked to do. But what they do not realise is that bibliographical references are not just that – it is very important to know how to give the proper citations. There are many methods by which you can cite your sources, as well as the types of references to be mentioned by the student – the page number, title of the book, name of the author etc.
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An annotated bibliography is essentially a comprehensive version of a standard reference list. In other words, it provides a list of the journals, books, and other scholarly sources used in your paper, but takes a second step by briefly describing and assessing each source in terms of relevance, quality and reliability. The content of each summary should be around a paragraph of 100-200 words. Just like a regular reference list, the annotated bibliography must be formatted according to the proper style such as APA or MLA.
While annotated bibliographies can differ from paper to paper, here are some guidelines that tend to be universal:
- Discuss the noteworthiness and reputation of the researcher
- Mention the goal of the study cited.
- Summarize the source
- Explain why the source is relevant to your paper
- Discuss its strengths, weaknesses, and potential biases.
These are suggestions that generally apply to every annotated bibliography, but ultimately it depends on the sources, arguments, and observations by the student during the initial stage of writing their paper. It is also important to note that annotated bibliographies can serve different purposes based on the wishes of the professor. For example, some request summary annotations while others want an evaluative, critical, or even mixed type. Each of these annotations entail different scopes and types of data that require collecting and researching as the student completes the project.
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While working on an annotated bibliography can be a time-consuming experience, it is also very important for several reasons. First, rather than merely selecting sources that are related to your research, you are actually strengthening your paper further by explaining why the sources are relevant, interesting, and why the author of the work is reputable based on their academic and work credentials. All of this is used to indication that you took your research seriously.
When writing your paper, the best strategy for supporting your argument is by citing multiple research. These can be found in books, academic research papers, articles in reputable magazines and newspapers, and websites known for their credibility. By doing so, you are not assuming that your argument is correct simply because one other research article confirms it, but because there is a great deal of information that supports it. These sources can all be linked together in your annotated bibliography.
In order to maximize your paper score, always make sure that you are following the formatting style guidelines based on your professor or instructor’s requirements. You would also want to ensure that none of the sources used in the paper are omitted from the list. Another important point is that while some instructors ask you to list your sources in alphabetical order based on the last name of the author, others will require you to do this chronologically based on when the source was published. Obviously if your paper contains dozens upon dozens of sources, you should expect to spend a significant amount of time working on your annotated bibliography as each source should contain thoroughly written information that evaluates each of them.
A more detailed bibliography is the annotated bibliography. Such annotated bibliography writing requires you to not only research reference sources, but also to highlight how each source is relevant to your research.
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Useful Annotated Bibliography Tips
Writing an annotated bibliography is no easy task. You must be able to critically examine a piece of academic work, provide a concise explanation, analyzing it succinctly, and demonstrate that you truly understand it.
The first step is to gather the sources that might be helpful for your paper. These can include books, peer-reviewed academic journals, periodicals, and any other reputable publication that can enhance your own paper. After looking through these sources (reading the abstracts can be useful and it saves time), pick the ones that contain a variety of viewpoints on your topic.
Make a citation list of the sources based on the proper formatting style (MLA, APA, Harvard, Chicago) as per your instructor.
Write a brief annotation that summarizes the main points of the source
Also include the following:
- Discuss the author’s credentials as an authority.
- Mention the audience that the paper is aimed at.
- Compare/contrast the source with other sources that also cover the topic.
- Discuss how this source enhances or otherwise demonstrates relevance to your chosen topic.
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