Education

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography: A Complete Guide

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You’re on your way to the end of the year and very close graduate from university but here’s one last thing to be done before you can get your degree…

A THESIS!

Writing a Thesis or Dissertation could be very tiring work but it can’t be ignored or be skipped. If you want that degree you got to work for it.

Before you even start writing your thesis or dissertation, you have to choose the topic and then research it. But do you just read stuff and write down and then submit it?

Nope, that’s not how we do it.

Even researching for your thesis or dissertation should be done in a much-disciplined manner and that’s called Bibliography.

And if you know what bibliography is but still don’t know how to write an annotated bibliography, don’t worry we have got you covered.

What Is Bibliography?

Don’t panic if bibliography sounds like an alien word to you. Let us explain what is bibliography in the easiest way.

When you start to research for your thesis, you go through a number of materials like books, articles and other resources that you later cite in your thesis.

How do you remember everything that you have read?

Would you carry around each book, article, and link with you when you submit your thesis to show the reader or checker the references you have used in your research papers?

This is where the bibliography comes into the picture.  You have to note down all of the sources that you have used for your research which includes both, the sources you have cited in your thesis and also the sources you did not.

What does bibliography include?

  • List of all the citations in your thesis.
  • Names of the authors you have cited.
  • The page number of the reference you have cited.
  • Name of the book or journal you have cited.

Why bibliography is important:

  • It saves you time when you write your thesis as you have all the information written in front of you.
  • If not done, your thesis will be considered plagiarism i.e. it will be rejected as your research will be considered as stealing someone else’s work without proper crediting.

Bibliography is very important as without it, you can’t even start writing a thesis properly.

Is Bibliography Same as Referencing: Bibliography vs Reference List

If you are thinking that bibliography is a fancy word for a reference list, then you have got it wrong. Have a look at this quick Bibliography vs Reference list comparison to make your confusion go away!

Bibliography vs Reference List

What is a Bibliography Page?

A bibliography page is a very important part of your thesis or research paper. It is usually one of the last chapters of your thesis and it helps your research paper or thesis in many ways:

  • Gets the authors acknowledged and increase the credibility of your research
  • Let’s your reader know more about your research topic
  • Eliminates the chances of your research paper being panelized for plagiarism

How Does a Bibliography Page Looks Like?

How Does a Bibliography Page Looks Like?

(Image Source: Google Images)

As you can see, a bibliography page does not have annotations. It has a working bibliography that has references to all the sources being used and cited in research.

Some Bibliography Examples for You!

Now you have the clear concept of what bibliography is so let us give you some bibliography examples to make sure you know how to start doing bibliography for your research papers.

Here’s a sample for how bibliography entries should be written

Author last name, first name. “Chapter title.” In Book Title, edited or translated by Editor first name last name, page range. Place of publication: Publisher, Year.

Now you have the format, let’s see how to write an actual bibliography entry.

García Márquez, Gabriel. Love in the Time of Cholera. Translated by Edith Grossman. London: Cape, 1988.

Another one of the bibliography examples which is a bit different, let’s check it out

Jones, Joe. “Isolation and Death in Faulkner’s Work.” Elucidator 61.2 (2003): 122-24. Literature.

Resource Center. Web. 15 June 2009.

Jones has a Ph.D. in Faulkner Literature, and the Elucidator
is a peer-reviewed journal that has been published since 1901. Jones examines Emily’s isolation, especially that of her childhood. He concludes that her secret relationship with Homer, who is not part of her social class, is a result of her loneliness and desperation for companionship. In addition. Jones feels that Emily may also be rebelling against her father, who never let her have a relationship. I will use this article to provide support and examples to show that Emily is rebelling against the isolation she felt as a child which carved over into adulthood. Jones’ examples point to Emily secretly being very angry with her father and blaming him for her current loneliness.

Well, that was different, wasn’t it? It is an annotated bibliography and it’s more powerful and helpful for you while writing and presenting your thesis.

Before we explain you how to write an annotated bibliography, let us give a little overview of the types of bibliography.

Types of Bibliography

Bibliography mainly has 3 formats/types which are:

Enumerative Bibliography

An enumerative bibliography is the most common type used by students and professional writers with the format in chronological order of

  • Author
  • Subject
  • Date or some other scheme.

The items they list share a common theme such as topic, language or time. You can see an example of enumerative bibliography down here

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York: Konemann, 1999. Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse. (American Zoetrope/Cineplex Odeon Films) (1991) Directed by Eleanor Coppola, George Hickenlooper and Fax Bahr.

Analytical Bibliography

Analytical bibliography is used by writers who critically study books. Analytical bibliographies include:

  • information about printers and booksellers
  • descriptions of paper and binding
  • Discussions of issues that unfolded as the book evolved from a manuscript to a published book.
Breeding evil. (2005, August 6). Economist, 376(8438), 9. Retrieved from www.economist.com

This editorial from the Economist describes the controversy surrounding video games and the effect they have on people who use them. The article points out that most critics of gaming are people over 40 and it is an issue of age not of the games themselves. While the author briefly mentions studies done around the issue of violence and gaming, he does not go into enough depth for the reader to truly know the range of studies that have actually been done in this area, other than to take his word that the research is unsatisfactory. The author of this article stresses the age factor over violence as the real reason for opposition to video games and stresses the good gaming has done in most areas of human life. This article is a good resource for those wanting to begin to explore the controversy surrounding video games, however for anyone doing serious research, one should actually examine some of the research studies that have been done in this area rather than simply take the author’s word that opposition to video games is simply due to an issue of generational divide.

Example of An Analytical Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography

While analytical bibliography is also annotated but it focuses on critical analysis only while annotated bibliography can be used on any genre or nature of research or topic. In an Annotated bibliography, the sources are listed in alphabetical order and annotations which are the details and notes of the citation and research references to help the reader understand the context easily.

How To Write Annotated Bibliography?

How To Write Annotated Bibliography?

Annotated bibliography includes a summary (up to 150 words) that simplify explains the following things:

  • The purpose of the work cited.
  • The shortcomings of the work cited.
  • Explains if there are any biases in the cited work.
  • The credibility of the source used.
  • Your thoughts on the research information.

Now you know have understood the concept of annotated bibliography, writing one is going to be very easy for you.

What are the Annotated Bibliography Topics?

Annotated bibliography has different types or methods to write, which are applied according to the topics and subjects. Two of the types we will talk about with examples are: 

  • MLA: used for humanities thesis and assignments.
  • APA: used for education, psychology, and political sciences.

Here’s an example for MLA annotated bibliography:

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.

As you can see that it has three paragraphs. The first one is a summary, second is an evaluation of the text, and last is the reflection on its applicability to his/her own research.

Here is an example of APA Annotated Bibliography:

Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America. 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.

The annotation above summarizes and assesses the book in the citation. Covering the main point of work, the first paragraph summarizes the author’s project while the second paragraph points out and evaluates the impact and its presentation and method.

How to Indent Bibliography?

Now you know how to write an annotated bibliography with all the different examples and samples. But how do you physically input it?

We’d prefer you to write it using Microsoft Word and don’t get into other messy software.

To indent text bibliography into format i.e. if you want to turn your text into the respective format you don’t need to use any fancy software or pay someone to do that. It’s very easy actually, just select the text with cursor and press Ctrl + T to indent that line or paragraph quickly.

After teaching you how to indent bibliography, we don’t think you would need any more help! Good luck with your writing!

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