Writing an annotated bibliography can be an independent exercise or can be part of a larger project such as writing a thesis or writing a dissertation. Regardless of why you are writing an annotated bibliography, the same general rules will apply. You should use Google Scholar or your favorite academic database to find articles about your topic. You should then group these articles into groups based on themes or chronology and take extensive notes. Once this is done, you should proceed to write your annotated bibliography by summarizing these sources and placing them in list form.
In writing an annotated bibliography, you should typically prioritize sources that have been published during the last five years. Writing an annotated bibliography in this way is superior as it means you will be writing on the newest knowledge in the field regarding your topic. This said, you may wish to include older sources in an annotated bibliography if no one has worked on them in the last five years or if a source is a classic piece of work that no one has ever replicated. Writing an annotated bibliography means that you have comprehensively covered the topic you are writing on. Combine a majority of new research with some older classic research to write a great annotated bibliography. For example, if you are writing on Freudian psychoanalysis, make sure that you cite Freud even if his source is one hundred years old but also make sure that you cite the most recent literature on the subject.
Ultimately, writing an annotated bibliography not only involves summarizing the sources that you will be listing but also involves evaluating their quality and telling the reader how they will be integrated in your research paper, your thesis or your dissertation. Given that the purpose of writing an annotated bibliography is to list the sources that are relevant to exploring a given topic, an annotated bibliography can easily be transformed into a literature review once it is completed and graded. In writing an annotated bibliography, keep this potential later use in mind because an annotated bibliography is rarely a waste of your time because of the role that it can play in terms of helping you write future essays or writing future research papers.