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Annotated Bibliography

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations, where each citation includes an annotation. Citations can include books, articles, documents etc. In an annotated bibliography each citation is followed by a brief (ca.150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph called an annotation. This descriptive and evaluative paragraph (i.e., the annotation), is meant to assess the nature and value of the cited works, helps provide your reader with essential critical information and can act as a foundation for further research. The overall aim is to inform your reader about the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources you are citing.  

Purpose

In your paper the annotated bibliography can help:

  • Illustrate the scope and quality of your research
  • Demonstrate scholarship published on a particular topic or subject
  • Provide the reader with supplementary or alternative sources
  • Provide examples of the type of resources available on a given topic
  • Place original research in a historical context

Things to consider when writing an annotated bibliography

  • What issue or problem am I investigating?
  • What question(s) am I trying to pursue? If your bibliography is part of a research project, this project will probably be guided by a research question. If your bibliography is an independent project on a general topic (e.g. Emirati women), try formulating your topic as a question in order to help define your search ( e.g. How is family law in the UAE affecting Emirati women and what is the impact of sharia law?).  
  • What types of sources am I looking for? (e.g. books, journal articles, newspaper articles, government reports etc.? 
  • Am I finding seminal studies on my topic? (analyze citations in useful sources and see what sources they use and why. Keep an eye out for studies that are referred to by several of your sources.)