Is your college paper still incomplete because you are not done with the annotated bibliography yet?
Not sure about its purpose and confused about how you should format your annotated bibliography?
Here is a step by step guide on how to write an annotated bibliography, with examples.
Whenever you look at or listen to the words "annotated bibliography", know that it is referring to the list of various articles, documents, and books, along with a brief summary and analysis of its content. First part is simple citation and then comes a small brief, which is up to 150-200 words, or according to your teacher’s requirement.
After looking at the term "small brief", you must be wondering if it is an abstract. No it is not, there is actually a difference in annotations and abstracts.
The abstract is usually a descriptive summary, which is presented at the beginning of a scholarly article and journal entries.
Annotations, on the other hand, are more critical and descriptive. Most of the times, annotations help explain the viewpoint of the authority, author, and to give clarity about the content.
Moving further, we will explore the differences between abstract and annotated bibliography, and learn the tips and steps that are essential to compose the two in detail, as well as thoroughly discuss the annotated bibliography examples.
As mentioned earlier, annotated bibliography consists of two parts:
Citation means listing down the important details of the source material; author’s name, date of publication, etc,. to help the reader know where the information has come from.
When you are given an assignment, there is a certain style or format that is specified by the teacher.
The citation of every paper is dependent on the particularly assigned format, which can be MLA, APA, Chicago and so on.
It should include the name of the article or book, the name of the author/authors, date of publication and the details of the publisher.
Rest of the details vary according to the nature of the source.
Coming to the second part of the annotated bibliography, which is an annotation, there are four tips to keep in mind.
What is the purpose of annotated bibliography?
Why does your professor want you to add it when you are describing the sources and including them in your research paper?
Some of the purposes of writing an annotated bibliography are listed below:
A bonus point! You can save half of your effort while writing the research paper, if you have already worked on the annotated bibliography. Now this is what we call ‘A Real Deal’.
The annotation can vary depending on the requirement and what your direction is. However, there are some certain points and tricks that can help you move forward in the process, easily.
1) In the start of the annotated bibliography, there will always be a citation. Make sure that you always cite the source in the required format, for instance, MLA, Chicago or any other.
2) Then comes the annotation part, which is a summary of the whole article or journal. You will start the annotation by telling how the author carried out the research.
3) In the next lines of the annotation, talk about the qualifications of the author or authors.
4) In the next few lines, give the full summary of what the research is all about.
5) Coming to the last part of the annotation, evaluate the source in a few lines.
6) Lastly, talk about self-reflection and how the paper has or will aid in your own research.
You will be able to understand how to write an annotated bibliography better after going through the sample annotation given below.
Battle, K. (2007). Child poverty: The evolution and impact of child benefits. In Covell, K., & Howe, R. B. (Eds), A question of commitment: Children's rights in Canada (pp. 21-44).Waterloo, ON Wilfrid Press. Laurier University
Ken Battle draws on a close study of government documents, as well as his own research as an extensively-published policy analyst, to explain Canadian child benefit programs. He outlines some fundamental assumptions supporting the belief that all society members should contribute to the upbringing of children. His comparison of child poverty rates in a number of countries is a useful wake-up to anyone assuming Canadian society is doing a good job of protecting children. Battle pays particular attention to the National Child Benefit (NCB), arguing that it did not deserve to be criticized by politicians and journalists. He outlines the NCB’s development, costs, benefits, and laments that the Conservative government scaled it back in favor of the inferior Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB).
However, he relies too heavily on his own work; he is the sole or primary author of almost half the sources in his bibliography. He could make this work stronger by drawing from others' perspectives and analyses.
However, Battle does offer a valuable source for this essay, because the chapter provides a concise overview of government-funded assistance currently available to parents. This offers context for analyzing the scope and financial reality of child poverty in Canada.
With the help of the annotated bibliography examples mentioned above, we will break down the process of annotation step by step.
1)The “brown” part is the citation of the journal, article or paper.
2)The “pink” part is the explanation of how the author carried out the research, basically, the method that he used.
3)In “blue” is the qualification of the author or authors.
4)In “green” is a small brief of the whole paper, basically the essence of the findings.
5)The “purple” part of the annotation is where the evaluation of the work is done. For instance, the logic that is strengthening the argument or the evidence solidifying it, is discussed in this part.
6)Finally, at the end of the annotation, in black, is how the writer of the annotation reflects on the article or journal. The writer talks about how the paper helped them with his own research.
The above-mentioned steps are the perfect breakdown to help you understand how an annotated bibliography is distributed. Follow these steps and you will nail an annotated bibliography in not time.
Further, it is not necessary that you incorporate all the steps. It depends on the requirement and word count of the assignment.
Keep on reading, we will look into different formats of an annotated bibliography and their examples as well, but first, how is it different from an abstract?
Both seem to be a general summary of the source so, why one is abstract and the other an annotated bibliography?
Abstract is a brief summary of the different sections of the source, which informs the readers what is covered, or discussed, in the source.
On the other hand, the annotated bibliography is different from the abstract, as it is not just a brief summary of all the sections of the source.
It is the overall detail of the source, which not only describes what has been covered in the sources, but also provides an insight of how the source is helpful for the respective and future research.
It is different from the abstract in structure also. It has four parts: summary, evaluation, analysis and relevance, while abstract is just a brief summary.
Abstract simply states what is covered in the source, while the annotated bibliography, or annotation, also highlights the purpose, analysis, evaluation and relevance of the source.
When it comes to the examples of annotated bibliography, there are certain styles that are preferred over the others. Individuals mostly prefer writing their bibliography in MLA and APA format.
It does not mean that other styles like Chicago are not used; it is mainly dependent on the instructions that have been provided by the professor and your field of study. some types of formats are only used by the students enrolled in special courses.
The reason why we are focusing so much on the writing style is the citation part of the annotated bibliography depends on it. There is no specific style to write the annotation, it is mainly like an indented paragraph.
One of the most commonly used annotated bibliography styles is APA.
If your teacher has not specified any style, using APA is a safe bet.
Students usually think that the APA writing style and bibliography are easier. In general, all the bibliography styles are very easy, it is just a matter of understanding.
If you are doing an annotated bibliography in APA style, the first thing you should consider is the citation. Make sure that you format the link of the journal, book or article that you use, in APA format style.
After the proper citation, write an indented paragraph, giving a small brief of what is in the journal articles or books, that you have used as the source material of your paper. Examples of annotated bibliography APA are mentioned below.
1) Waite, L. J., Goldschneider, F. K., & Witsberger, C. (1986). Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional family orientations among young adults. American Sociological Review,51, 541-554.
The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Living and spending time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.
In this annotated bibliography, there is no self-reflection at the end. It is more like a brief of the whole study.
2) Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company.
In this book of nonfiction based on the journalist's experiential research, Ehrenreich attempts to ascertain whether it is currently possible for an individual to live on a minimum-wage in America. Taking jobs as a waitress, a maid in a cleaning service and a Walmart sales employee, the author summarizes and reflects on her work, her relationships with fellow workers and her financial struggles in each situation.
An experienced journalist, Ehrenreich is aware of the limitations of her experiment and the ethical implications of her experiential research tactics and reflects on these issues in the text. The author is forthcoming about her methods and supplements her experiences with scholarly research on her places of employment, the economy and the rising cost of living in America. Ehrenreich’s project is timely, descriptive, and well-researched.
Looking at the annotation above, one can clearly see that the writer has assessed as well as summarized the book which has been cited. Look at the first paragraph, it gives a small brief on the work that the author has talked about in the book.
Coming to the second paragraph, the writer has specifically talked about the strengths of the project. Further, they have also talked about the presentation and method.
The last part of an annotation is usually when the writer talks about self-reflection and how the study has helped them. However, this particular part is not added in this annotation.
Now, coming down to the MLA format, the only changes will be in the citation. The annotation part will stay the same. A better way to explain this is by giving examples. Examples of annotated bibliography MLA are as follows.
1) Battle, Ken. “Child Poverty: The Evolution and Impact of Child Benefits.” A Question of Commitment: Children's Rights in Canada. Ed. Katherine Covell and R.Brian Howe. Waterloo, ON Wilfrid Laurier University Press. 2007. 21-44.
Ken Battle draws on a close study of government documents, as well as his own research as an extensively-published policy analyst, to explain Canadian child benefit programs. He outlines some fundamental assumptions supporting the belief that all society members should contribute to the upbringing of children. His comparison of child poverty rates in a number of countries is a useful wake-up to anyone assuming Canadian society is doing a good job of protecting children. Battle pays particular attention to the National Child Benefit (NCB), arguing that it did not deserve to be criticized by politicians and journalists. He outlines the NCB’s development, costs, and benefits and laments that the Conservative government scaled it back in favor of the inferior Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB). However, he relies too heavily on his own work; he is the sole or primary author of almost half the sources in his bibliography. He could make this work stronger by drawing from others' perspectives and analyses. However, Battle does offer a valuable source for this essay, because the chapter provides a concise overview of government-funded assistance currently available to parents. This offers context for analyzing the scope and financial reality of child poverty in Canada
02) Kerr, Don and Roderic Beaujot. “Child Poverty and Family Structure in Canada, 1981-1997.” Journal of Comparative Family Studies 34.3 (2003): 321-335.
Sociology professors Kerr and Beaujot analyze the demographics of impoverished families. Drawing on data from Canada’s Annual Survey of Consumer Finances, the authors consider whether each family had one or two parents, the age of single parents and the number of children in each household. They analyze child poverty rates in the light of both these demographic factors and larger economic issues.
3) Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Anchor Books, 1995.
Lamott's book offers honest advice on the nature of a writing life, complete with its insecurities and failures. Taking a humorous approach to the realities of being a writer, the chapters in Lamott's book are wry and anecdotal and offer advice on everything from plot development to jealousy, from perfectionism to struggling with one's own internal critic.
In the process, Lamott includes writing exercises designed to be both productive and fun. Lamott offers sane advice for those struggling with the anxieties of writing, but her main project seems to be offering the reader a reality check regarding writing, publishing and struggling with one's own imperfect humanity in the process. Rather than a practical handbook to producing and/or publishing, this text is indispensable because of its honest perspective, its down-to-earth humor, and its encouraging approach.
Chapters in this text could easily be included in the curriculum for a writing class. Several of the chapters in Part 1 address the writing process and would serve to generate discussion on students' own drafting and revising processes. Some of the writing exercises would also be appropriate for generating classroom writing exercises. Students should find Lamott's style both engaging and enjoyable.
In the above MLA annotated bibliography, the writer has included three paragraphs in the annotation. The three paragraphs are inclusive of a summary, evaluation and finally in the last paragraph, a reflection of how the annotation aided in the writer’s own research.
However, as seen in the first two examples, it is not necessary that you give an evaluation, brief and reflection. The details depend on the word count requirement given by your professor.
Similar to APA and MLA, in Chicago style annotated bibliography, the main thing that changes is the citation format. The annotation pretty much follows the same pattern as we have discussed above.
Below are a few examples of the Chicago format:
1) Battle, Ken. "Child Poverty: The Evolution and Impact of Child Benefits." In A Question of Commitment: Children's Rights in Canada, edited by Katherine Covell and Howe, R. Brian, 21-44. Waterloo, ON Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2007.
2) Kerr, Don, and Roderic Beaujot. "Child Poverty and Family Structure in Canada, 1981-1997." Journal of Comparative Family Studies 34, no. 3 (2003): 321-335.
3) Davidson, Hilda Ellis. Roles of the Northern Goddess. London: Routledge, 1998.
Davidson's book provides a thorough examination of the major roles filled by the numerous pagan goddesses of Northern Europe in everyday life, including their roles in hunting, agriculture, domestic arts like weaving, the household and death. The author discusses relevant archaeological evidence, patterns of symbol and ritual, and previous research. The book includes a number of black and white photographs of relevant artifacts.
As you can see, this is an annotated bibliography at its simplest form. In the above example of the Chicago style, the writer has only given a small brief of what the paper is all about. The main focus of the small brief is to talk about the project the book has worked on.
However, it is the choice of the writer to take all the steps or choose those that are important for him. All the examples have different styles of annotation and this is what you should be careful about in your paper. Know which style to follow and stick to it.
The above examples are your starting points for writing an effective annotated bibliography. APA and MLA is used more extensively than Chicago, or other formats, but they all have different styles and formats. The main changing step in all kinds of annotated bibliography is the format of the citation; the explanation part is almost the same.
I hope this guide gave you the awareness you needed to write and format your annotated bibliography and you are confident to work on your own now.
However, it is understandable that why some students find the concept of annotated bibliography difficult.
If you follow the above mentioned guidelines and example, formatting an annotated bibliography won’t be much difficult for you. If you still feel the need to acquire some assistance, the better option is to hire a professional writer. MyPerfectWords has experienced and professional writers who are here to assist you in your writing.
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