You have just been asked by your professor to write an annotated bibliography. To begin with, you need to know how to get started and what exactly an annotated bibliography is. Now, an annotation is more than just a brief summary of an article, book, website or any other form of publication. Annotations should give enough information to make a reader decide to read the complete work. It should include a list of resources with citations related to a particular topic with an evaluative summary, or a brief description.
Just before writing a formal research paper, your professor is likely to ask you to develop an annotated bibliography for some reasons. Mostly it’s to show that you understand the literature underpinning a research problem, to demonstrate your ability to conduct a thorough review of pertinent literature or to discuss sources among your classmates so that, collectively, everyone in the class obtains an all-inclusive understanding of key research about a particular topic. Think of an annotated bibliography as a more deliberate, in depth review of the literature as what is normally conducted for a research paper.
On a broader level, writing an annotated bibliography can be exceptional preparation for carrying out a larger research project by allowing you to evaluate what research has already been conducted and where your proposed study may fit within it. By reading and critically analyzing a variety of sources associated with a research problem, you can begin to evaluate what the issues are and to gain a better perspective on what scholars are saying about your topic. As a result, you are better prepared to develop your own point of view and contributions to the literature.
Encourages you to think critically about the content of the works you are using, their place within the broader field of study, and their relation to your own research, assumptions, and ideas;
Provides evidence that you have read and understood your sources;
Establishes validity for the research you have done and of you as a researcher;
Gives you an opportunity to consider and include key digital, multimedia, or archival materials among your review of the literature;
Situates your study and underlying research problem in a continuing professional conversation;
Provides an opportunity for others to determine whether a source will be helpful for their research; and,
Could help researchers determine whether they are interested in a topic by providing background information and an idea of the kind of scholarly investigations that have been conducted in a particular area of study.
In addition, writing an annotated bibliography helps you develop skills related to critically reading and identifying the key points of a research study and to effectively synthesize the content in a way that helps the reader determine its validity and usefulness in relation to the research problem or topic of investigation.
er level, writing an annotated bibliography can be excellent preparation for conducting a larger research project by allowing you to evaluate what research has already been conducted and where your proposed study may fit within it. By reading and critically analyzing a variety of sources associated with a research problem, you can begin to evaluate what the issues are and to gain a better perspective on what scholars are saying about your topic. As a result, you are better prepared to develop your own point of view and contributions to the literature.
There are two good strategies you should use to begin identifying possible sources for your bibliography–one that looks back into the literature and one that looks forward.
Your method for selecting which sources to annotate depends on the purpose of the assignment and the research problem you are investigating. For example, if the research problem is to compare the social factors that led to protests in Egypt with the social factors that led to protests against the government of the Philippines in the 1980’s, you will have to consider including non-U.S., historical, and, if possible, foreign language sources in your bibliography.
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