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Annotated Bibliography Step by Step: Expert Help

August 27, 2019

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How to Write an Annotated Bibliography Step by Step: a Guide Provided by Experts

Before you start working on your annotated bibliography assignment, it is crucial to know how to write an annotated bibliography step by step. It is essential to study the features of this writing type in depth in order to understand the very writing process. So, before finding out what an actual annotation is, it is necessary to investigate the meaning and purpose of annotated bibliography writing.
A bibliography is a properly structured and formatted list of academic sources that have been used in a research paper, coursework, term paper or dissertation among other academic paper types. Normally, it is placed at the end of the paper and it comprises a comprehensive list of all the sources referred to in text or used in the process of research and preparation for writing. When you work on an ordinary bibliography, you provide the author of the source, the full title of the source, the year of publication, and some additional information such as the medium of publication, the place of publication or the very publisher.
When it comes to the annotated bibliography writing, the difference is that here you should provide not only the basic information about the source but also provide a short paragraph where you summarize, analyze, and evaluate the source. Depending on the length and requirements for the annotated bibliography, the annotation entry may differ in length as well. For example, the entry may contain three paragraphs (where each stands for the summary, analysis, and evaluation) or three to five sentences. Normally, one text annotation entry can be from 150 to 200 words.

A Comprehensive Guide on How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

Annotated bibliographies are predominantly assigned during the period when students have their final exams or when they have to submit their final research papers. Apart from the numerous challenging assignments that students are assigned on a daily basis (such as case studies, reviews, reports, and so on), they are now required to provide annotated bibliographies either as a separate task or as an assignment additional to the research.
Despite the fact that at first sight the assignment is rather tricky, the hardest part about it is not writing the very content but formatting the annotation properly. Still, if you devote ample amount of attention to studying in-depth the requested annotated bibliography citation style, you will surely succeed.
While many students undermine the importance of annotated bibliographies and consider them as totally useless assignments, they can actually be really helpful to fellow students and even researchers. With the help of the annotated bibliography, a person reading your scholarly research can easily find out what expert evidence and supporting sources you have been using.

APA Format Annotated Bibliography

APA format annotated bibliography is one of the most frequently assigned annotated bibliography citation styles. When a student is writing an annotated bibliography APA, it is essential to study all the features of the required citation style. Apart from caring for the annotation content, you need to pay attention to the format and citation style. APA style is normally used for papers in such disciplines as Psychology, Sociology and the others in the adjacent fields. APA stands for the American Psychological Association hence the need for using this style in social studies.
How to write an annotated bibliography APA style? First of all, provide a summary of the source used in the bibliography. Be sure to take into consideration your target audience as it has to understand the brief discussion of the source. Therefore, choose relevant vocabulary in order to make the description easy to comprehend and understand. Also be sure to pinpoint to the significance of the source within your research realm.

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography MLA Format?

If you are a novice to annotated bibliography writing, you will definitely want to know how to write an annotated bibliography MLA format. MLA format is another one that is commonly used after the APA. In most educational establishments, APA and MLA styles are the most popularly assigned ones.
MLA stands for the Modern Language Association style and an MLA annotated bibliography is mainly used by students who work on a paper in Humanities, Liberal Arts, Literature, etc. However, in some specific cases, when a professor gives some instructions, this citation style may be used in the other subjects as well.
Writing an annotated bibliography MLA can be successful and effective when you follow a specific structure and certain guidelines. Check them out:

  • The name of the author.
  • The full title of the source.
  • Brief information about the author.
  • Version of the source (whether it is printed or online).
  • Number.
  • Publisher and brief information about it.
  • Date of publication.
  • Location.

After you have provided this general information, you can switch over to the very summary, analysis, and evaluation. If you want more detailed tips on how to write the very annotation entry, read on the following points:

  1. Introduce the central argument or idea put forward by the author.
  2. Indicate the main goal of the source.
  3. Highlight the main aspects raised in the book, findings you have derived, and conclusions.
  4. Provide any other comments concerning additional materials used, such as glossaries, graphs, appendices, etc.
  5. Indicate information about the author`s background and some events that influenced his/ her writing career and the very writing of this particular book.
  6. Mention whether this book by the author fits within the other books. Pinpoint to whether it is similar in genre or writing style.
  7. Pay attention to the title and write about its effectiveness.
  8. Pay attention to who the target audience of the book might be. In what ways can the book be useful for them?

Provide a list of keywords for each source before writing the final draft of the annotation. As you research the sources, write down some keywords that will later help you write the annotation. Since you have many sources to evaluate, you may confuse some of them but with the list of keywords, it would be easier for you to identify between them. The keywords should be specific, i.e. specifically pinpoint to some features of each of the sources.
Moreover, once you have written the entries, do not be in a hurry to submit the annotated bibliography. Spend sufficient time on editing and proofreading and be sure to check the paper for content and mechanics (grammar, punctuation, spelling typos, vocabulary usage, etc.). If you need some sample, be sure that you can find an annotated bibliography template online and take a look how to write an annotation entry properly.

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Annotated Bibliography Templates

If you have no idea what an annotated bibliography entry should look like, feel free to have a look at the following annotated bibliography templates.

Annotated Bibliography APA Template:

Dawson, C. (1929). Progress and Religion: A Historical Inquiry. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press.
The book was written by Christopher Dawson, who is a reputable Catholic scholar. The book refers to the period between the two world wars. The scholar emphasizes that religion lies at the core of any culture and each society should adhere to the religious norms if it wants to prosper and succeed. He claims that any society that forgets its roots delving into religion is doomed. To prove his point, he investigates the history as well as philosophical and religious events and thoughts during the time of World War I and ranging up to World War II and even the modern days. The conclusion the author made is that the society should not forget about religious principles but turn away from the totalitarian regime in favor of Christianity.

MLA Annotated Bibliography Template:

Pepys, Samuel. The Diary of Samuel Pepys. Ed. Robert Latham. Penguin, 2000.
The source is a personal diary of Samuel Pepys, who is famous for being a naval administrator in England during 1660 – 1690. The diary reveals details about personal life of Pepys, namely some facts about his well-being, family as well as his involvement into the national and governmental issues. The diary belongs to some of the most important primary sources that are cited up to the modern days.
Cowles, Henry. “The Ecological Relations of the Vegetation on the Sand Dunes of Lake Michigan.” Botanical Gazette, 27(1899), 95 – 117.
This is a scholarly article written by Henry Cowles, who actually paved the way for the subsequent research of the plant community as well as experiments involving ecological issues. The main argument put forward in the paper is that the plant communities of each specific region were initially influenced by specific geographic features. Hence the formation of specific patterns depending on them. According to Cowles, there was no community that climaxed at a point of time. He considers that the world saw the gradual and consistent change of each plant community according to the changes of the environment.

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