An Annotated Bibliography Preparation Rules

Table of contents

What is an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is primarily a list of various citations or references used in some work. These could be citations to published documents, papers in research journals, articles, or even books. 

The uniqueness associated with an annotated bibliography is the brief text that follows each citation. This short text or paragraph primarily serves to give the reader insight into the quality, diverseness as well as the relevance of the sources.

Examples of Annotated Bibliography

The outstanding feature of an annotated bibliography is the summary or the description that follows the citation. The following examples of annotated bibliography help to highlight the structure of an annotated bibliography.

Example 1: Evaluative Bibliography

Maak, T. (2007). Responsible leadership, stakeholder engagement, and the emergence of social capital. Journal of Business Ethics, 74, 329-343. doi:10.1007/s10551-007-9510-5

This article focuses on the role of social capital in responsible leadership. It looks at both the social networks that a leader builds within an organization and the links that a leader creates with external stakeholders. Maak’s main aim with this article seems to be to persuade people of the importance of continued research into the abilities that a leader requires and how they can be acquired. The focus on the world of multinational business means that for readers outside this world many of the conclusions seem rather obvious (be part of the solution not part of the problem).In spite of this, the article provides useful background information on the topic of responsible leadership and definitions of social capital which are relevant to an analysis of a public servant.

Example 2: Descriptive Bibliography

Belcher, D. D. (2004). Trends in teaching English for specific purposes. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 24(3), 165-186. doi: 10.1017/S026719050400008X.

This article reviews differing English for Specific Purposes (ESP) trends in practice and in theory. Belcher categorizes the trends into three non-exclusive sects: sociodiscoursal, sociocultural, and sociopolitical. Sociodiscoursal, she postulates, is difficult to distinguish from genre analysis because many of the major players (e.g., Ann Johns) tend to research and write in favor of both disciplines. Belcher acknowledges the preconceived shortcomings of ESP in general, including its emphasis on “narrowly-defined venues” (p. 165), its tendency to “help learners fit into, rather than contest, existing…structures” (p. 166), and its supposed “cookie-cutter” approach. In response to these common apprehensions about ESP, Belcher cites the New Rhetoric Movement and the Sydney School as two institutions that have influenced progressive changes and given more depth to “genre” (p. 167). She concludes these two schools of thought address the issue of ESP pandering to “monologic” communities. Corpus linguistics is also a discipline that is expanding the knowledge base of ESP practitioners in order to improve instruction in content-specific areas. Ultimately, she agrees with Swales (1996) that most genres that could help ESL learners are “hidden…or poorly taught” (p. 167) and the field of genre is only beginning to grasp the multitude of complexities within this potentially valuable approach to the instruction of language—and in turn, writing.
This article provides examples as well as expert opinions that I can use in my project. This will provide me with evidence to support my claims about the current disciplines in ESL studies.

Sample Annotated Bibliography

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How to Write an Annotated Bibliography Step by Step

Writing an annotated bibliography requires you to follow a set of procedures. Generating it might not be much of an uphill task, but you might have to invest additional effort in crafting an annotated bibliography. However, it is also easy following our step by step annotated bibliography guide:

Note Down the Citations or Sources Used

When you write some academic content, research and referencing forms an integral part of the process. You have to draw from the works of other individuals who have previously worked on the subject. These findings help to beef up and enhance the content that you write. 

You need to ensure that you note these citations down so that you can do proper citation to avoid plagiarism issues. Locate the sources you use and ensure you maintain a good record of them.

Analyze the Citations

When you note down the citations, you have to analyze them. This allows you to sift those citations that carry more relevance to your work. This will work towards improving the academic quality of the work. It also makes it easier to build citations and generally, the annotated bibliography.

Start Working on the Bibliography

After reviewing and analyzing the citations, get down to working on the bibliography. The general structure of an annotated bibliography involves a citation at the top, followed by a descriptive or evaluative summary about that source.

The summary has a definite outline. The citation’s purpose, its audience, its relevance to that academic area, its key points of argument, as well as uniqueness are some of the aspects that feature in the annotation.

Annotated Bibliography Outline

The annotated bibliography outline is also a scholarly composition in itself. There is a structure to the annotated bibliography that academics, scholars, and students follow.

The Citation or the Source

The citation forms the initial section of the annotated bibliography. It could be the title of a particular paper in a research journal, a book, or any other document or article. It is the definitive source that features in the academic work in question.

The section on the Purpose of the Work

This forms the opening section of the annotation. It gives highlights of why the citation, in particular, is essential. It also provides an overview of the problems tackled by that research, and its overarching place in the academic field under review.

Summary of the Content

The source of that work contains a lot of information on the topic under review. It could contain a lot of quantitative and qualitative information. In this regard, it is best to give a summary. This will help to capture the key points and information contained in the source.

Targeted Audience

This part underscores to whom the work was for. It explains why, in particular, the information was for that audience. This, therefore, forms the third section of the annotated bibliography.

Relevance to the Topic

It is essential to give an overview of the relevance of the work to the topic. This will also help to reinforce the position of the citation in the entire bibliography.

Special Aspects of the Material

This section addresses the outstanding or uniqueness of the citation. There could be key points put across in that citation. Therefore, this section of the annotated bibliography helps to highlight those aspects.

Nature of the Citation

This forms the final section of the outline of annotated bibliography. It primarily highlights the strengths, weak points, as well as the inherent biases of the citation. This increases the objectivity of the bibliography.

Where Does the Annotated Bibliography Go in a Research Paper

Essentially, the annotated bibliography goes to the final section of a research paper. Ordinarily, the references or citations from the last part of the paper but without accompanying summaries of any kind. The case is different with annotated bibliographies. These bibliographies have some accompanying explanatory and descriptive summaries.

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