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How do I Prepare an Annotated Bibliography?

All types of annotated bibliographies start with a citation of the resource formatted to the APA Style standards. Academic Writer will now format annotated bibliographies for students.

Types of Annotated Bibliographies

A Descriptive annotation may summarize:

  • The main purpose or idea of the work
  • The contents of the work
  • The author’s conclusions
  • The intended audience
  • The author’s research methods
  • Special features of the work such as illustrations, maps, and tables

This type of annotation seeks to answer the question, Does this source cover or address the topic I am researching?

An Informative annotation:

  • Summarizes what the content, message, or argument of the source is
  • Generally contains the hypothesis, methodology, main points, and conclusion or results
  • Does not include any editorial or evaluative comments about such content

This type of annotation seeks to answer these types of questions, What are the author's main arguments? What conclusions did the author draw?

An Evaluative (also critical) annotation includes value judgments or comments on the effectiveness of the work. In this context, critical means evaluative and may include both positive and negative comments. A critical annotation may contain the information found in a descriptive annotation and discuss some of the following features:

  • The importance of the work’s contribution to the literature of the subject
  • The author’s bias or tone
  • The author’s qualifications for writing the work
  • The accuracy of the information in the source
  • Limitations or significant omissions
  • The work’s contribution to the literature of the subject
  • Comparison with other works on the topic

This type of annotation seeks to answer these types of questions:

  • Is the author's presentation of the facts objective?
  • Is the methodology sound? Is this source useful for my audience?
  • Are the conclusions still valid in light of new research?
  • What contribution does this make to the field?
  • Does this source address all the relevant issues?

Combination is the most common style of annotated bibliographies. It include a general overview of the article, like in the descriptive; a critical analysis and judgement of usefulness, qualification & bias of the author, and strengths/weakness of the text (like the Evaluative); and information about the research/results (informative).