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How To Write An Annotated Bibliography: A Comprehensive Guide

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If you want to discover the secrets to writing an A+ annotated bibliography, read on below to discover Unemployed Professors’ guide to writing an annotated bibliography. It holds valuable tips, tricks and secrets for writing an annotated bibliography, formatting an annotated bibliography, and obtaining an A+ on your next annotated bibliography. If you do not have the time to write your own annotated bibliography or simply don’t want to write an annotated bibliography, go ahead and post your annotated bibliography assignment on Unemployed Professors! You will nearly immediately receive competitive bids from a wide range of professors with expertise in writing annotated bibliographies and other types of custom academic essays and custom academic research papers.



An annotated bibliography is very similar to a literature review in that it assembles a large segment of the previous research published on a given academic topic. Unlike writing a literature review, writing an annotated bibliography does not take on narrative form. Rather, writing an annotated bibliography involves making a list of references that have previously been published on the topic, and then writing annotations for each of them. These annotations, typically between 150 and 400 words, summarize the source in question and provide other functions discussed in greater depth below.

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.



The first step in writing an annotated bibliography is to choose a topic. Sometimes the topic may be assigned to you or might be tied to writing a dissertation or writing a thesis. In other cases, you may be writing an annotated bibliography and you will have the choice of what topic to write about. In writing an annotated bibliography, it is important to choose a topic on which much has been published so that it is easier for you to find sources for your literature review. Use online databases like Google Scholar, Magenta and JSTOR to find a wide variety of sources on your topic for your annotated bibliography and read the abstracts of these sources prior to reading them as whole. This will help you determine if they are relevant for you in writing your annotated bibliography.

Once you have chosen your topic and identified themes in the research, you should begin picking the sources that you will use for writing your annotated bibliography. It is then time to read these different sources and take notes. While skimming an abstract can be helpful if you need to write an annotated bibliography quickly, it is best if you read the entire source. This is especially the case if you plan on using it in your research paper, thesis or dissertation. Takes notes about the main points, the weaknesses as well as how you think the source will contribute to your writing a research paper, thesis or dissertation.

Finally, writing an annotated bibliography is about far more than summarizing all of the sources that you will use when writing an annotated bibliography. Because writing an annotated bibliography is typically done prior to writing a research paper, writing a thesis or writing a dissertation, each of your annotation bibliography entries should have four components. First, write an annotated bibliography so that each entry contains a summary of the article. Second, list and discuss the credentials of the authors. Third, tell the reader why the source in the entry will be useful for you in writing your research paper, thesis or dissertation. Finally, write of any weaknesses that you find in the source. Once you have completed these four steps, your annotation is complete and you can include it as you write an annotated bibliography.



When writing an annotated bibliography, you are most likely to be asked to format your annotated bibliography in APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA or Turabian style. Based on the style that has been assigned to you, it is important that you either find an annotated bibliography template for your assigned style or find a style guide for the citation style that you must use. Citing your sources appropriately throughout your annotated bibliography will ensure that you do not lose points. It is also important to make sure that you cite all of your sources so as to avoid being accused of plagiarism. When you write an annotated bibliography, make sure that all of your citations are perfect before submitting.

Once you have formatted and referenced your annotated bibliography based on the style guide that you have been asked to use, it is time to review your annotations. Make sure that all of your annotations contain the four components discussed above: a summary of the article; an overview of the author’s credentials; how the source will be useful in writing your research paper, thesis or dissertation; and a discussion of the weaknesses of the article. Only when all of these elements are present can you write an annotated bibliography and get an A+.


The main difference between an annotated bibliography and a literature review is the format that it takes on. While writing a literature review involves summarizing sources and juxtaposing them in relation to each other through a written text, an annotated bibliography is a list of sources followed by annotations. While the annotations that you make in writing an annotated bibliography might be very similar to the paragraphs that you would write when writing a literature review, you do not need to integrate or juxtapose your sources in relation to each other when you write an annotated bibliography. Instead, writing an annotated bibliography simply involves presenting your sources and annotations as a list.

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