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Basic Library Research & Writing: 2. Annotated Bibliography


What are Annotated Bibliographies and Why are They Important?

An annotated bibliography is a list of references on a particular topic, where the references have a summary or explanation of each reference. The annotated bibliography is a tool which is very useful in preparing to write a research paper. You may remember on the Home tab of this research guide we referred you to the Purdue Online Writing Lab (Owl) for assistance with your research and writing. The Purdue OWL has a page specifically about why you should create an annotated bibliography on your topic and how to do so. Additionally, the Purdue OWL also provides some samples of annotated references. When creating your annotated bibliography, be sure to follow your teacher's instructions, including citation style (such as APA or MLA) and length of annotation (usually between 100 and 200 words).

So an annotated bibliography is just a tool used by college students in the writing process, right? Wrong! Annotated bibliographies can be found everywhere that people want to provide background on a particular topic or support a particular viewpoint. Annotated bibliographies can be found at the end of articles, chapters, and books and ebooks. There is even a very large genre of articles, books and ebooks and reports that are essentially one, long annotated bibliography!

So how are you going to create your annotated bibliography? First, you need to search for information to support your topic or position. You will do that by searching in databases for keywords. Then, after finding and reading a variety of sources and evaluating them, you will summarize these resources and cite them, so lets move on to the next part of this guide, using databases and choosing keywords. After you have found some sources, you can use this research guide to learn to cite them

-Mark Allan