An annotated bibliography is frequently a requirement at the university level. More than a simple listing of sources used in a research paper, an annotated bibliography follows each citation with a brief description of the work. The purpose of this annotation is to give the reader some insight into the relevance and quality of the source in relation to the research.
An annotated bibliography requires more than a quick summary of the work. A good annotated bibliography will require the writer to very briefly summarize the theme and scope of the entire work. It will also evaluate the authority of the author as an expert in the field. Finally, the annotation must describe how the work fits into the research project. Obviously, if a work has no relevance to the research topic, the work has no reason to appear in the bibliography.
An annotated bibliography can be applied in any of the major citation formats: MLA, APA, or Turabian. It is more important that you, as the researcher, be able to critically analyze the source in question. Evaluating such aspects as the author’s objective reasoning, originality to the field, and/or logical construction of the text can be a bit of a challenge to the novice student. However, developing these skills through repeated attempts at creating an annotated bibliography will allow for sharpening the mind, critically evaluating sources, and writing a superior annotated bibliography.