How to write annotated bibliographies

Before we get to know how to write annotated bibliographies, we have to understand what annotated bibliographies are. You may say “I can type my term paper and I know what I do!”. But writing bibliography is a little different process. Annotated bibliographies are those phrases or statements that account for the research that the researchers have done. When you are writing Annotated bibliographies, you have to write them in alphabetical order. Annotated bibliographies are just a list of the sources for the research. Like the other bibliographies, annotated bibliographies give the details of the research sources and the researchers themselves. Depending on the work that you have, annotated bibliographies may be the beginning of the larger project. These annotated bibliographies can be a project of their own. 

Choosing sources

The usefulness and the quality of your annotated bibliography will depend on the sources that you have. You can make a good scope of your work. When you make a scope, you will know what you can include in your work. You will understand what you can exclude from your work.

Look at these questions to help you know the limits of your research.

  • What are the problems that you are investigating? What are the questions that you are trying to pursue? When your bibliography is part of your project or research, then the research question will govern your project. 
  • What is the type of material that you are looking for? Journal articles or academic books? Policy statements or government reports? Do articles from the press? History sources?
  • Are you able to find significant studies on your topic? Be watchful of the studies that relate to your essay.

Summarizing arguments of different sources

Annotations briefly beef up the Major arguments of sources. Annotating academic sources need to identify their thesis: methodology and the conclusion of the essay. Annotations should explain why the contents exist. 

Below are the following that will help to identify the sources of the arguments. 

  • Look for the sources of the author. Or the thesis. Both the conclusion and the introduction can help with tasks like this.
  • Look for places where they have a lot of repetitions of the main ideas and key terms. Follow up with them so that you know what the author was meaning. Note those main ideas that the author has put in the thesis statement.
  • Make sure you note how the author has organized the texts. What are those main Sections and divisions? What has the author emphasized? When you know how to answer the ‘why’ question, you will understand how to account for the study.
  • Note how they are using the theories to analyze the data. Look for the methods that the writer has used to analyze and look for his information. 
  • Focus on the beginning statements of the paragraphs. It is where the authors out the main points of the study.
  • Look for those arguments that put the points in summary form. Some sections may begin or conclude with such information.


You can use your annotation to assess the value and relevance of your sources. If you want to include your bibliography as part of your work, include why you are using that particular source. And if you have the bibliography as another project of its own. Try to look for how the source contributes to the study.

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