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How To Write An Annotated Bibliography For Assignments?

Education levels that require you to research a topic or an issue often demand a list of sources that you have used in your research. This list of sources is termed a bibliography in scholarly language. There is another type of bibliography which is currently in use in research. Its name is annotated bibliography. This bibliography is a list of cited sources in research, in which each cited source is followed by a brief annotation.

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What should you include in that brief annotation or description of the citation? It is the main question of today’s discussion. In today’s article, I will describe the method of writing an annotated bibliography for assignments. Some examples are also going to be a part of today’s discussion. However, before moving on towards the ways of writing it, let’s define it.

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography provides a piece of brief information on the available research on a given topic. This kind of bibliography is a list of sources that takes the form of citations followed by an annotation. What is an annotation? An annotation is a short paragraph summarising the key points of a research study. Depending on the type of assignment, this bibliography can be a section of a large research project or a stand-alone assignment. Whatever the case is, the way of writing it is the same.

What is the purpose of an annotated bibliography?

From the discussion above, you have got a good idea of what this bibliography is. Why writing important in research projects? What is its purpose? I know questions like these are circulating in your mind. The purpose of this bibliography depends on the assignment. Depending on the specific assignment type, this bibliography might:

  • Review the existing literature on a particular subject
  • Demonstrate the quality of reading and research that you have done
  • Highlight sources that may be of interest to others
  • Explore and organise sources for future research by other researchers

Steps to writing an annotated bibliography for assignments

Now, when you know what this bibliography is and what its purpose is in an assignment, it is time to move to the main topic, i.e., steps to write. Before that, it is important to note that the normal length of annotation in this kind of bibliography is 100 to 200 words. You must try to remain within this limit. However, a brief description of the 4 main steps required to create an annotated bibliography is as follows:

1. Choose your research sources

What do you need to create a bibliography? Yes, it is the research source. So, first things first, you must choose the sources that you want to annotate. To select the sources, do not forget to ask yourself some questions because a quality bibliography depends on the sources. Those questions are as follows:

  • What problem am I investigating or trying to research?
  • What kind of research material am I looking for?
  • Am I finding some specific studies on my topic?

Answering these questions will surely help you research the right sources for your bibliography. However, if you still feel that you cannot do this, then taking help from assignment writing services UK is the way to go. 

2. Review the collected sources

Once you are done with the collection of sources, it is now time to review them. It is now time to review their relevance and value to the main topic. If your research source is part of a larger research project, know how it relates to that research project. Know how it matches the research aims and objectives of that project. Checking the relevance is important because if your selected source is not relevant, you are going to suffer in the final assessment. So, review all the collected sources for their relevance and value.

3. Decide on the type of bibliography and citation style

As you all know, there are various citation styles in use. Some universities ask their students to use the APA style, and some ask them to use Harvard. So, before creating the annotated bibliography, it is important that you decide on your citation style. Asking the teacher about the style is a good thing. After this, decide on the type of annotated bibliography you want to use. Some annotated bibliographies only summarise the sources, and some evaluate. Some bibliographies do both, so decide on this.

4. Create the bibliography

After doing all the steps mentioned above, it is time to write the bibliography itself. To write it, first, you should provide the citation itself and then the annotation, i.e., a brief paragraph which summarises and evaluates the source. Ensure that you have included all the information and evaluated the sources from all of its aspects. It is important that you follow the same procedure for all of the citations or sources.

Example of an annotated bibliography

“Murray, Donald M. Read to Write: A Writing Process Reader. Fort Worth: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1987. Print.” (Source citation)

The topic of Murray’s book is more narrowly focused on how writers read other writers, particularly how writers read themselves. With a focus on how a piece of writing develops as an author takes the time to read and assess his or her own work, Read to Write offers a perspective on drafting and rewriting. Moreover, The book has some outstanding examples of expert writing. It also showcases each author’s individual style of commenting on their own works. This allows the student reader to pick up the skill of rereading and rewriting effectively, as shown by well-known authors. (Annotation)


Conclusively, an annotated bibliography comes in many variations. The use of one particular variation depends on your assignment or the requirements of your teacher. However, the process of writing is the same for every variation. You need to select the sources, read them, explore them, analyse them, and evaluate them. The example given above is just a summarising annotation, and it does evaluate the source. So, it is just one variation of this bibliography. Go to the internet now and learn other types of annotated bibliographies, too.

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