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A Guide to Writing an Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography Topics

If you are reading this article, you are most likely familiarized with a bibliography list and know about its integral role in writing a well-structured thesis, research paper, or an essay. This time, you are dealing with a more elaborate form of bibliography dubbed “annotated bibliography.” On the surface, the term may seem ambiguous and difficult to grasp, but once you crack its concept, you will not want to come back to writing the regular bibliography.

Definition & Clarifications

An annotated bibliography is usually defined as an alphabetically organized list of sources referred to in the process of conducting research on a particular topic. This entry is followed by an annotation, a paragraph that provides an abridged description of the content of the consulted sources. The summary should be relatively short with the maximum word count of 150 words presenting an evaluation of the source according to such criteria as accuracy, relevance, and quality of information.

Annotated bibliographies offer more advantages as compared to regular bibliographies. Particularly, a short yet insightful overview of the sources conveys an impression that you have meticulously investigated the topic of your paper and, therefore, you have sufficient expertise to write about it. Also, this will make your arguments and points seem highly credible.

Your annotated bibliography may be written in either short, concise sentences or paragraphs with obvious cohesion, good grammar, and correct spellings.

Types of Annotated Bibliographies

Scholars adhere to various formatting styles, including Modern Language Association (MLA), American Psychological Association (APA), and Council of Biology Editors (CBE), which depends on the area or scope of their research.

However, when it comes to formatting an annotated bibliography, the abovementioned standard citation styles are not appropriate. Thus, scholars created four annotation writing techniques. It is important to point out here that when choosing an annotation style for MLA, APA, or CBE, you should check with your supervisor first.

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Common Annotation Writing Styles and Their Explanation

  1. Indicative Annotation

    This form of annotation outlines the subject of the work used and its underlying ideas as well as claims.

  2. Informative Annotation

    If you are making use of informative annotation, then it is advisable to provide a summary of the sources you consulted along with the arguments of your work.

  3. Evaluative Annotation

    This type of annotation concerns the strong and weak points of the sources you referred to. Also, make sure that you elaborate on the relevance of a particular work to the framework of your own paper and state why others should or should not use it.

  4. Combination Annotation

    In combination annotation, the features of the three aforementioned types are blended. Accordingly, it includes a summary, a brief overview, and assessment of a source and research work.

Sample Annotated Bibliography Entry

  • Listing a referenced source

    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 (4), 541-554.

  • A concise description of the contents

    The scholars at the Rand Corporation and Brown University utilize the findings from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to either prove or negate their hypothesis that nonfamily households among young adults affect their values, views, goals, and expectations, alienating them from a conventional belief in distinctive sex roles.

    The results of a group comprised of young females support their hypothesis, whereas the changes in the studies of young males were less observable. Increasing the estrangement from parents before marrying promotes individualism, self-containment, and changes in family orientations. Conversely, earlier research by Williams referenced below demonstrates a negligible discrepancy between sex role attitudes of females and those of males as a result of nonfamily living.

Annotated Bibliography Topics

  • Acid rain issue
  • Alcohol consumption and college students
  • Autism
  • Beauty standards
  • Bilingual upbringing
  • Capital punishment
  • Cloning as a moral dilemma
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Concentration camps
  • Cyberbullying
  • Domestic violence
  • Driving under the influence
  • Emotional eating disorder
  • Extremism in sports
  • Feminist concepts
  • Fraternities
  • Genetic modification of species
  • Greenhouse effect and global warming
  • Health care policy changes
  • Homeland security
  • Human rights infringement
  • Identity theft
  • Internet obsession
  • Legalization of marijuana
  • LGBT social movements
  • Nuclear crises
  • Obesity among young people
  • Piercing and tattoos
  • Plagiarism
  • Political games
  • Pornography as a form of contemporary art
  • Rap music
  • Reality shows
  • Recycling
  • School uniforms
  • Segregation of boys and girls
  • Social justice
  • Steroids in sport
  • Terrorism and Islamists
  • Vegetarianism
  • Women’s role in politics

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