Bibliographies are catalogs of journals, books, periodicals, and websites used in topic research. At times they are known as works cited or references depending on format styles in use. They contain bibliographic data like the title, author name, and publisher.

Annotations are evaluations and summaries. Annotated bibliographies are summaries or assessments of each source. Depending on the assignment or project, annotations serve the following functions:

  • Summarize. Some annotations summarize the source material giving the main arguments of the article. They also offer your take on the aim of the book or project. The length of the annotation will depend on the details covered.
  • Assess. It’s essential to test a summary giving its essence. Compare it with other bibliography sources you have used. Talk about information reliability and the aim of the original.
  • Reflect. After summarizing and assessing a source, ask yourself if it fits in the research. How was the source material helpful? How did it affect your arguments? How will you use it in a research project? How did it change your thinking about your topic?

A good annotated bibliography may include any of the above ideas or, at times, all.

A perfect annotated bibliography has several functions. It’s an excellent means to prepare for the research project. It’s helpful to collect bibliography sources. As you make an annotated bibliography, be keen when reading the original. You have to read critically at the expense of just assembling information. Professional annotated bibliographies will allow you to view what to do in literature. You will know how your scholarship or research will fit. While formulating a good thesis, a perfect research paper should be an argument. The research purpose is to state and back up the thesis. Making a thesis current, debatable, and engaging is an essential part of the research. Making a perfect annotated bibliography helps gain a better perspective about the topic. When you read and respond to different topic sources, you will see the real issues and how people argue them. You will also be in a position to craft and build your point of view.

An annotated bibliography also helps other researchers. Scholarly and extensive bibliographies are at times published. They give comprehensive overviews of all essential things said about the topic. You might fail to get your annotated bibliography published anywhere. As a researcher, you will always look for one published about your research topic.


An annotated bibliography format varies. It makes it essential to ask for guidelines if you are doing it for class purposes. You write the annotation for each source in paragraph form. The length varies depending on the goal, from a few sentences to some pages. The size will also depend on the purpose. In writing source summaries, annotations are not lengthy. They may be longer if you use the summaries of the primary sources. An extensive analysis of every origin, then you will use more space.


Your own needs will make you focus on the needs of the annotated bibliographies. To make a better draft, use few sentences of a general summary. You have to back up the summary with several sentences on how you will work on the larger project or paper. 

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