How to Write an Annotated Bibliography: Tips from Experts
When your research project is done, you have to write a page of references or annotated bibliography, depending on your professor’s preferences. We decided to help you with it. First, let’s define what an annotated bibliography is.
Annotated Bibliography: What Is It?
An annotated bibliography is a list of long citations, where all the used sources are described in 100-200 words. Such an approach allows students to better support their arguments, explaining what exactly some source means in the context of a particular research. There are two common types of annotated bibliographies:
- Critical: Such citations explain the strong and weak sides of the author’s arguments;
- Descriptive: Such citations describe the author’s arguments and explain why the source is useful.
Usually, professors tell students what type of bibliography to use. However, your references should always meet the following requirements, regardless of the citation type:
- They should reflect the purpose of your work and summarize it.
- They should reflect the author’s qualifications and background.
- They should describe the author’s audience.
Structure and Format
An annotated bibliography has its basic structure which includes the citation and its description. To make sure your citations are properly structured, follow these tips:
- Make sure your descriptions are one paragraph long (100-200 words);
- Include citations above descriptions;
- Be concise — don’t forget about the word limit;
- Your references should be arranged in an alphabetical or chronological order;
- Use only third person. Avoid such words as I, me, you, etc.
There are many different citation formats which are used in various disciplines. The most popular citation styles are APA, Chicago, and MLA. Here are some examples:
- APA: Griffin, B. (2000). Faster Than the Speed of Love. New York City, NY: Dog Books.
- MLA>: Griffin, Brian. Faster Than the Speed of Love. Dog Books, 2000.
- Chicago: Griffin, Brian. Faster Than the Speed of Love. New York City: Dog Books, 2000.
Usually, professors tell what citations styles they want you to use. As for the descriptions for each reference, just follow our tips. Now you understand what the annotated bibliography is, so let’s talk about the writing process itself.
How to Start Writing Your Reference Page
There is a common misconception that students should write the whole paper first and then get to the reference page. It’s absolutely wrong. We suggest having a complete list of references before you even start writing the paper itself. This will allow you to easily navigate through sources, being more prepared for writing the main part.
- Choose a topic and read sources on this topic.
- Look for the most relevant information and determine what sources are the most useful for your paper.
- Take notes while reading so that you can jot down key points of your annotations.
- Make a list of your sources, arranging them alphabetically or chronologically. Choose a citation format and make sure your citations meet all the requirements of the chosen format.
- Write annotations for all the references according to the guidelines from this article.
- Make sure your references are well-written. Double check them for grammar and punctuation mistakes.
If you do everything right, you will have a perfect reference page. The only thing left to do is add it to your essay or other academic paper.
Now You Can Do It
When you know all the rules of writing annotated bibliographies, the whole writing process becomes easier. However, you still may need some help, so don’t hesitate to contact our writing experts and order the best academic assistance!