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The term annotated bibliography is a combination of two terms most commonly used in the academic word - annotation and bibliography. An annotation is a descriptive summary; it is a descriptive text or comment added to explain a text. Depending on the referencing or citation style being used by a writer (MLA, APA, etc.), a bibliography is generally a section included towards the end of a project or an assignment that lists the different sources used by him/her for research purposes. Books, online journals, magazines, etc. are all examples of sources that researchers use during the writing of a piece. In a bibliography, the information that is provided include certain details about the source such as the name of the author, the title of the work, the year of publication and so on and so forth.
When you combine the two terms, an annotated bibliography becomes a section where an evaluation of the different sources used for researching a topic or a subject is provided. It is a list containing the citations of articles, magazines, books and other documents or sources where is each citation is followed by a descriptive summary of about 100 to 150 words. While compiling an annotated bibliography, students are expected to do extensive and informed library research and succinct analysis of the sources. Here we have put together a useful tips and hints on how to create a comprehensive and concise annotated bibliography.
The creation of an annotated bibliography should be done as per the instructions provided by the person/institution who will be reviewing one's work. If the requirement is to merely summarize the sources used, then the author of the project/assignment/work should briefly analyse the contents of the source and its relevance to the research carried out. Some institutions might insist on a more detailed annotated bibliography where researchers are asked to evaluate and reflect on each source in an in-depth manner. One of the best ways to make sure that your annotated bibliography is considered comprehensive is to be thoroughly familiar with the sources you cite. Often, many researchers and students use a large number of sources without really going through the content in a proper manner (this is usually done to amass a large number of sources and to create an illusion that a large amount of research has been done). Making this mistake will lead to difficulty in writing annotated bibliographies that actually hold weight under scrutiny by expert. Comparing different sources is another way a researcher can make his/her annotated bibliography more comprehensive. Finding parallels between the points raised in the source material and one's work is one more strategy that can be used to this end.
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