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What exactly is an Annotation?
Never confuse an annotation as a brief summary of a book, an article or other web sources.
It must be kept as simple as you can.
The basic purpose is to offer sufficient information to keep the reader interested in the original work.
In simple terms, it describes whether the topic is useful or not
And if yes, then why?
Is it Different from an Abstract?
An abstract is primarily a descriptive detail of a book, web source or an article.
On the other hand, annotations are used to analyze the source critically.
They are also descriptive but further include specific features of the topic.
Is there a Simple Explanation of Annotated Bibliography?
Yes, there is a simple and detailed explanation to help students understand the purpose of an annotated bibliography.
It is a systematic list of sources.
Have you ever seen a reference list? It is exactly similar to it.
Don’t think that it is similar to the straightforward bibliography.
Every reference is followed by a paragraph of 100-200 words.
Different Purposes of Annotated Bibliography
Fundamentals of Annotated Bibliography
The entries of annotated bibliography have different purposes which depend on the assignment that is assigned to you.
Do not think that each type of annotation will represent a similar detail.
A simple example will remove the clouds of uncertainty flying in your mind.
The A type of bibliography is utilized to summarize the used resources.
Likewise, the B type of bibliography functions to evaluate the work used in the essay or research project.
Don’t be confused.
The following types will clear the purpose of annotated bibliographies and their types.
Types of Annotated Bibliographies
There are two primary kinds of annotated bibliographies:
Example Of An Informative or Descriptive Bibliography
The conclusion and the main arguments of the author are discussed in the informative type.
It can be considered similar to an abstract.
In addition, it highlights why the source is important for researching the particular question or topic.
The following example highlights the features of a descriptive or informative annotated bibliography
Breeding evil. (2006, September 8).The Times, 375(8496), Retrieved from
The editorial from the Times highlights the controversy of video games and the impact they have on the people and users. The author describes the skepticism of the mass media which has gone back to the pastimes of the ancient Greeks. Therefore, the controversy related to the video games is not a new thing. The piece also indicates that the most critics of gaming are aged above 40 and it must be called a generation issue rather than the relevance of games. The author offers a way forward that with the passage of time, the controversy will fade away on its own. The age factor is also highlighted by the author. The major reason for the opposition is the age factor, not the violence related to games. The significance of the article is immaculate in exploring the controversial dimensions surrounding video games from a wide generational standpoint and is published to target the general audience.
Example Of Critical or Analytical Bibliography
A critical or analytical annotation serves various purposes.
It not only summarizes the piece but it also analyzes the material.
The strength of the article is examined.
Besides, the weakness is also mentioned to express the key flaws in the conclusion presented by the author.
Majorly, critical or analytical bibliographies are used.
It is necessary to understand the art of making a critical analysis of the material.
Breeding evil. (2006, September 8).The Times, 375(8496), Retrieved from
The editorial from the Times discusses the controversial debate of video games and their effect on the people. The article indicates that a wide range of gaming critics are over 40 and it is the issue of age. Games cannot be blamed under any circumstances. While the article briefly summarizes studies conducted in the dimensions of gaming and violence, it never analyzes the in-depth aspects. For instance, the author never highlighted the vast range of studies that have been actually conducted in a specific area. The very factor makes the usage of the word research unsatisfactory in the article. The author has advanced to stress the age over violence as the root cause of the opposition of games and emphasizes the benefits of gaming in major parts of human life. The article is a potential source for the curious people who desire to explore the controversy associated with video games. However, serious researchers must remain cautious. The article is not sufficient to reflect both sides of the story. If the researchers want to make a critical analysis, other research must be studied that has been conducted in the field rather than blindly following the author's word. The bottom line is that the author says opposition of video games is generally because of the generational divide.
Pay keen attention to the last sentence of the passage.
Remember, the example is specifically related to critical or analytical bibliography.
The research of the author is criticized in the last sentence.
Now you are all set to write your own piece of the annotated bibliography.
Wait, take some time to review the following guidelines.
Before you write an annotated bibliography, it is must to choose the sources.
Here is where research skills come in handy.
Identify records to the material which may be utilized in your topic.
After choosing the sources, review the items.
Always choose the items which offer a wide range of perspectives on the topic.
Article abstracts are the key to the process.
First, write a complete citation and then follow it with the annotation.
The following items are part and parcel of annotated bibliographies:
Annotated Bibliographies can be arranged chronologically or alphabetically.
The preference of instructor is what you should consider.
Never take these guidelines for granted.
Writing perfect annotated bibliographies is not a piece of cake.
Guidelines for Formatting
The instructor, in most cases, directs to use the specific type of annotated bibliography.
Yes, they have different types.
If you are asked to submit an essay with an annotated bibliography of the resources at the end, don't take it for granted.
Always keep an eye out for the type of format.
Is There Anything Common Among Types?
You must be wondering that it seems like a herculean task.
No, it is not.
It does take practice and some tips to tackle the monster of annotated bibliographies.
Remember, the following two features remain the same in each type of annotated bibliography:
Annotated Bibliography (MLA Format Example)
It takes practice and seasoned guidance to master annotated bibliographies.
With different formats, it becomes further difficult to produce powerful annotated bibliographies.
Read the following examples to have an understanding of the MLA formatted annotated bibliographies.
Lammot, Anne.Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Life and Writing. Anchor Books, 1995.
In the example above, all three types of annotations are written.
Summarizing, viewing and evaluating the work are the three types expressed.
Annotated Bibliography (APA Format Example)
Ehrenreich, B.(2002).Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America. New York: Henry
The example includes different types of annotation texts.
In the first half, the book is summarized.
The second half assesses the work and research of the author.
Annotated Bibliography (Chicago Format Example)
Davidson, Hilda Ellis.Role of the Northern Goddess. London: Routledge, 1999.
A single paragraph is sufficient in the example.
Read again and you will notice that it is a detailed summary of the book and methods used by the author.
So, Have You Understood?
You must have understood the key of writing excellent annotated bibliographies.
Remember, never take them for granted.
If you are analyzing the work of a credible author or source, perform extensive research.
Yes, research is what differentiates a quality and ordinary annotated bibliography.
Research and Research
Hopefully, you would have grasped the fundamentals of writing annotated bibliographies by now.
If you read carefully, research must be the word drumming in your mind.
Years of experience is required to research the work of authors or web sources.
A classic example may help you understand the significance of annotated bibliographies.
For instance….you crafted an excellent research project.
Effort, time and other aspects were duly donated while writing the research project.
Nevertheless, you received poor grades. Why is it so?
Yes, you are thinking the right way.
Annotated bibliography proved to be the worst nightmare and thus destroyed your grades.
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