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Academic Writing

This guide provides information about academic writing resources

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

A bibliography is an organised list of sources that you have consulted in the research process. Examples include books, journal articles, electronic sources, etc.  Each item listed in a bibliography includes a citation of author/s, title, and publication details of the source.

An annotated bibliography is a bibliography with an additional description or evaluation/ annotation of each source which helps the reader evaluate whether the work cited is relevant to a specific research topic.

(As defined in the ECU academic tip sheet "Annotated Bibliography")

Check List for Writing an Annotated Bibliography

  • Have you identified, located and recorded all the books, journals and other sources required?
  • Have you cited each source in the appropriate referencing style?
  • Have you written a concise annotation for each source?
  • Are your sources listed in alphabetical order?
  • Have you submitted the annotated bibliography in the appropriate format?

The Main features of an annotated bibliography

An annotated bibliography should consist of an alphabetical list of sources, each of which contains:

1. The bibliographical details of the source (author’s name, year of publication etc.) given in correct APA end-text referencing format.
2. An annotation of a descriptive and/or evaluative paragraph, generally from 100 to 300 words. The annotation should be concise and well written and may include some or all of the information outlined below:

  • The main focus or purpose of the work.
  • The intended audience for the work.
  • The content of the source – e.g., subjects covered; major arguments supported.
  • Special features of the work that were unique, helpful or successful;
  • Features that are poor and/or the content that is left out.
  • The background and credibility of the author.
  • Conclusions or observations reached by the author.
  • Conclusions or observations reached by you.
  • The usefulness or relevance for your research (or why it did not meet your expectations).
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