A Complete Guide for Writing an Annotated Bibliography

A Complete Guide for Writing an Annotated Bibliography

What is an annotated bibliography? The writer not always understands what exactly they should do. If you didn’t deal with writing annotated bibliography before, you would need a helping hand for sure. It is due to the fact that this kind of academic assignment differs from other academic papers. When creating this type of paper, you will gain completely new writing experience.

Our service gives you a few simple but helpful tips on how to create an informative and correct annotated bibliography. What is an annotated bibliography, its formatting, and requirements for this type of academic writing? We will discuss all these and even more details in this article. Do not waste your time seeking for some cheap tricks and get yourself prepared with our help. We are here to make your life easier with our simple tips that really work.

What is an annotated bibliography. Definition and its 3 parts

Before you start writing, you should learn what an annotated bibliography is. It differs from other academic assignments such as essays, as it does not have an introduction, main body, and conclusion. An annotated bibliography is a list of sources connected by one topic with a short description of the content of each source, which is called an annotation. It may be books, articles, various files, and documents. Its purpose is informative. It gives a reader different perspectives on the chosen topic and identifies areas for further research.

An annotated bibliography consists of such components: 

  • a cover page (optional)
  • list of sources
  • annotation for each source.
Note, you do not need to add any headings in an annotated bibliography. Just provide source information formatted according to the requirements of the chosen format (which serves as a title) and an annotation below.

What to include in annotated bibliography

It is clear that you need to list all the citations you used in your article. But what does an annotated bibliography include more? 

  • short summary or overview of the source
  • evaluation
  • the source's relevance to the topic investigated.

Types of annotated bibliography

Depending on the type and the purpose, there are three types of an annotated bibliography in terms of content:
  1. Informative (or descriptive). The purpose of an informative annotated bibliography is to present all the available information that is relevant to the topic.
  2. Critical (or analytical). Critical annotated bibliography presupposes the evaluation of each source.
  3. Combination of the two. It presupposes providing information on the relevant sources, critically analyzing and evaluating them, and presenting their relevance to the topic under investigation.

How long is an annotated bibliography?

There is no standard length for an annotated bibliography. It all depends on the number of sources to be used and the assignment instructions given by the professor. However, at least 150 words should be for each source. 

Does an annotated bibliography have a title page?

It is one of the frequently asked questions. Yes, an annotated bibliography should have a title page. It should be formatted according to the rules of the formatting style that is mentioned in your instructions. Also, there should be a reference list at the end of your paper. However, you should always clarify the formatting issues with your professor.

How to write an annotated bibliography step by step

A bibliography paper is a kind of assignment that should be done in accordance with a clear and concise plan. It is difficult to make it logical and informative if not following a certain sequence of steps. Let’s start with a brief listing of how to write an annotated bibliography step by step:

  • Do research. It is of the utmost importance. Look for different opinions on the chosen topic.
  • Read sources and take notes. Take into account that only credible sources should be used. 
  • Consider the main ideas of the source.
  • Note your questions: Make it clear for the reader what questions you have had at the very beginning and how you have managed to answer them in the course of work.
  • Summarize the sources mentioning the main point.
  • Evaluate each source and relate it to your topic.

At the initial stage of writing, you may need to focus on the sources that have been used in your work. It is not enough just to learn how to write an annotated bibliography. It is a job for an experienced writer with developed skills. The writer should have analytical, researching, exposition, instructor skills on the proper level. To make the best annotation, you should summarize the main topic and direction of the source.

Annotated bibliography format

Lots of students don’t even realize what an annotated bibliography looks like. As any academic assignment, annotated bibliography can be written according to MLA, APA, or Chicago formatting style. The structure remains the same for all the formats. However, the sources should be formatted 

annotated bibliography

APA Annotated bibliography

An annotated bibliography does not require headings to be used in it. Just place the source information as it should be presented in the reference list and write an annotation below. Please note that different types of sources should be formatted differently.

APA Annotated bibliography example

Here is how your annotated APA bibliography looks like:

    White, Reeves L., Ferguson, (1997). The problem of modern youth identification regarding social networks and mass media influence. Mexican Sociology Reviewer, 35, 46-78.

The author of this research has a wide experience in the modern family and globalization topic. He uses data from the National Columbian University and his own researches for entries. There are few tests included in the entry. Young Columbian students were tested about their influences and use of modern technologies. Contemporary researches about the subject were ignored for the purity of the experiment. The hypotheses of the author were strongly supported by the results of the researches and tests. Modern youth are extremely influenced by their idols and friends from social media. Those results and conclusions were very important for this very article and my research. You are free to get more details from the article I was using in this work. All the citations support the main purpose of this paper and its solution regarding the existing problem.

MLA annotated bibliography

 MLA annotated bibliography is one of the most popular styles students use in their works. MLA format was created by the Modern Language Association. This format of writing can be very tricky. You can meet it in various paper tasks during your education period.

When creating an MLA annotated bibliography, you should mention the source formatted according to MLA format (be it a book, journal article, or an online source) and add an annotated bibliography. <.p>

Example of annotated bibliography MLA

Check an example of how to format an MLA annotation in MLA:

Cooper, Mary Ann. Lightning Injury Research Program. University of Illinois at Chicago, lightninginjury.lab.uic.edu/. 

This is an educational site with research information, tables, and charts. The links on the left side lead you to related links and to research articles. Some of the research articles have been previously published in medical journals. Some of the articles contain bibliographies. The dates of the material on the site range from 1995 through 2003. The author is an MD employed by the University of Illinois at Chicago. I found no grammatical or spelling errors. The source seems credible, reliable, and objective. The layout of the site is uncluttered. There were no pop up ads or advertisements. There is a Contact Us option with an address, e-mail, and phone number. 

Hill, David. "Preventing Lightning Strikes." American School & University, vol. 71, no. 11, July 1999, p. 55. Academic Search Complete. 

This is an article in an educational journal. It is written by David Hill, Director of Facilities and Operations, Blue Valley School District in Kansas. Hill appears knowledgeable about developing a lightning safety plan for educational institutions. This is a concise article that concludes with a link to another comprehensive site on lightning safety for institutions. This article seems reliable and objective and is from a reputable periodical in the education field. It was written in July 1999. 

 Chicago style annotated bibliography

While APA and MLA in-text citations are quite similar, Chicago presupposes footnotes. However, neither footnotes nor in-text citations are usually required in annotated bibliographies.
Thus, just format the source according to Chicago guidelines and place an annotation below.

Chicago annotated bibliography example 

Dreg, Mary, Frederic Cobourg. “The power of a Child. It's Influence on Parents, 2001 – 2009.” Journal of Modern Family Values Researches 46, no. 6 (2010): 376-378.

Here two popular scientists Mary and Cobourg discus the main problem of modern families. The influence on parents by children in a complex society and open globalization processes. They analyze the main purpose of childfree movement using research data from modern family problems and values.

Annotated bibliography tips

Here is also a few tips about what is an annotated bibliography:

Want to compose a great annotated bibliography that will be evaluated positively? Then, check the most helpful tips below.

  • Your focus should be really narrow. Do not try to cover everything about the source of your citation.
  • The sources should be relevant.
  • Collect all the sources and then choose the most relevant.
  • Summarize the source briefly.
  • The source should be used to support your narrowed topic.
  • The body of your annotation should be succinct.
  • Follow the assigned format only. 

An annotated bibliography might seem an easy task, as it does not have a specific structure. However, it is rather tricky, as annotation for each source is a separate mini-essay. Thus, you should be a pro in formatting styles, to provide all the necessary information on the source.
If you are not a pro in formatting or have other reasons that make you look for academic assistance, you may use online writing services. Experienced writers who are well versed in all the formatting style will create an impeccable annotated bibliography or any other type of academic assignment just for you.