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Tips to Write an Annotated Bibliography

Updated on March 17, 2019

Before we delve deep in the concept How to write an annotated bibliography? Let’s first discuss in brief what is an annotated bibliography? These remarks are also known as annotations. Now we come to the part, how to write an annotated bibliography? An annotated bibliography is comprised of two elements (a) citation (b) annotation.

Citation is a reference to a published or unpublished source. In other words, citation is the method of conveying your reader that material in your report, article or assignment has been picked from another source. It helps the readers to gain information required to revisit the source. It includes information about the author, the title of the work etc. The citation must be structured according to the nature of your report/assignment or as per the request of your professor. There are different citation styles in terms of location, order and syntax of information about references. Different citation styles are used for different study streams such as, for Social science APA style, Turabian (author date) and MLA (language studies and author page number) are used, Economics – Harvard style, Humanities- Chicago A (notation) Chicago B (author note), Turabian (for language study and notation), Law- OSCOLA (notation), Hard sciences-IEEE (Numeric), Medicine-AMA (numeric) and NLM, chemistry-ACS (numeric, author page number and notation), social studies-AAA (numeric), political science-APSA (author date) and Technical studies-ABNT (numeric and author date)

Annotation: an annotation is mostly a paragraph long comprising of 150-300 words. But it is advised to adhere to the guideline of your assignment as it may have a different requirement in terms of length of the annotation. An annotation generally incorporates following information:

  • A short and precise synopsis of the source
  • The core strength and weaknesses of the source
  • Conclusion
  • Citing the relevance of the source in assignment or report
  • Source’s connection with other research in the same field
  • The information regarding the background of the source’s author
  • And your own inference about the source

Annotation is of two types: summary annotation and evaluation annotation

  • Summary annotation: explains the source by providing answers to the questions like, who is the author of the document, what the document discusses about, where and when it was written, why the document was written, and through which medium it was published. This focuses mainly on the description of the source.
  • Evaluation annotation: It includes the aforementioned summary and apart from summary it critically evaluates the authenticity, quality and relevance of the source. Evaluation annotation helps you understand your topic better, contributes in the development of thesis statement, helps in deciding whether the particular source is relevant to your assignment or not, also it is instrumental in assessing how much the given information is enough to complete your assignment. This focuses on description as well as evaluation of the source.

Fundamental tips that come handy in writing and formatting:

  • Each annotation should be at least a paragraph long (150-300 words)
  • Begin with the same format as an orderly Work cited list
  • All lines should be doubled spaced and no extra line should be added in between the citation
  • You can organize the long list of citations by the topic
  • Try to be precise and objective, provide explanation in case you present an opinion
  • Use third person (he, she or the author) instead of first person (I, me, myself)

The most widely used way of annotated bibliography is MLA style format

MLA style format

The Modern Language Association (MLA) is an organization which developed the MLA format. Also known as the MLA style, was developed as a technique for researchers, students and scholars in the literature and language domain to make use of uniform mode to format papers and assignments. This consistent style of evolving the content in MLA format make the report or assignment easy to read. In 2016, the Modern language Association added the 8th and the latest addition to their Handbook. This Handbook furnishes exhaustive guidelines on MLA format citing, and procedure of submitting work that follows the rules and standards of the Modern Language Association.

The guide includes following segments:

  • Paper choice – this segment focuses on the type of paper to be used for printed submission.
  • MLA caption instruction – there are two ways to create MLA caption (a) to place the MLA heading on the top of the page. (b) create a title page
  • Organizing head and page number – it is to be placed in the top right corner of every page in the project. It comprises of Author’s last name followed by space and then the page number.
  • Margins – one-inch margin should be used around the page.
  • Paragraphs – first word of each paragraph should be indent and each sentence should begin from half inch from the left margin.
  • Quotations – to make your argument strong or prove a point, it is a must to add quotations in your assignment. Words of the quote belong to the person who wrote or spoke them, so it’s important to give credit to that individual by adding an “MLA format in text citation” in the body of the assignment.
  • Paraphrases – It refers to picking information from other source and adding it to your assignment by molding the language in your own style of writing but since the material picked still belong to someone else, it is necessary to give credit the source by using proper MLA format
  • Spacing – MLA research paper format requires double spaced lines
  • Font and Font size – MLA paper prefers any font type which is easy to read.
  • Punctuations – such as commas, concluding sentences with punctuation mark and starting the next sentence after one space.
  • Abbreviations – it is recommended to spell out the abbreviations in their full words and meaning as the Modern Language Association does not use abbreviations often.
  • Numbers - as per the requirement of the project use numbers in form of numerals.
  • Images, tables and musical score.
  • Lists
  • MLA works cited format
  • MLA citation format
  • Binding
  • Edits
  • Submission
  • Sample paper

© 2019 Sammy Collins


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