An annotated bibliography is an unusual assignment. It is not about covering a specific topic or providing a solution to the existing problem. Nor is it about describing a personal experience. Being a full version of the references page, the Annotated Bibliography is a comprehensive list of literature used in the essay or research paper meant to prove the author's point. It consists of the full references to the used sources, as well as their summaries, and that is what makes it different from a typical bibliography.
The topics for an annotated bibliography should match the titles of the analyzed material in order to provide a detailed answer to the research question. Usually, the students are encouraged to cite two basic types of sources: primary and secondary. While secondary sources, such as interview or survey, are not that critical, the primary sources are obligatory to read and cite. They include:
It is essential to cite and reference every source correctly. In fact, the author is required to do that each time they add an indirect or direct in-text citation. The direct quotation appears exactly the way another author wrote it, i.e., all the words in it remain unchanged. Unlike the direct quotation, the indirect one gets paraphrased before being inserted into the text. In both cases, it is essential to identify the source.
To do that, as well as find the original author, the student should name several critical elements which depend on the preferred citation format. While in some cases it is vital to cite only the author, in others the student should state the publication date and even the number of cited pages. Usually, teachers mention the required citation format in the task's prompt, but if no such information is available, you can make use of the cheat sheet we prepared for you:
By the way, discussing various formats could be one of the good annotated bibliography topics.
In most cases, there are no specific annotated bibliography essay topics. The last page, i.e., the one containing the bibliography, is called the References, Works Cited, or Bibliography, depending on the citation format. Sometimes, the students place the Annotated Bibliography at the beginning of the research paper, and that is when they can choose particular topic ideas for an annotated bibliography and replace the title with something more original.
We have picked some of the best ideas for your assignment!
Once you have chosen the topic & title, it is time to create the Bibliography. The students often confuse it with the Abstract. The difference is that the Abstract is a summary of the student's work in 250-300 words, while the Annotated Bibliography includes a summary of the sources and their authors. Unlike the Abstract, which is entirely descriptive, in the Annotated Bibliography, the writer should add some distinctive features of the source to be able to assess and criticize the information.
The goals of the annotated bibliography are:
In other words, regardless of the annotated bibliography ideas chosen, this section should help the reader discover more details concerning the analyzed problem and continue searching for solutions.
The section resembles an organized list of sources. After each full reference, the writer should come up with a short paragraph, 100-200 words in length, to provide the source's summary. This type of assignment may be of two types: descriptive (informative) and analytical (critical). The second one is a more meaningful type of bibliography. It is more complicated as the student should also analyze or criticize a specific source, and not just write the summary.
Summing it all up, you should:
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