In some situations, for example when writing a degree project, you may be asked to put together an annotated bibliography. This is usually done at an early stage, when you are collecting material for your project and reading up on previous research. Annotated bibliographies have several functions in the writing and research process:
- Putting together an annotated bibliography helps you get an overview of your sources
- An annotated bibliography will help your supervisor see whether you have a good overview of the subject
- Annotated bibliographies can also work as a kind of journal of your reading and understanding of the subject
What is an annotated bibliography?
An annotated bibliography lists the sources you have read for your project together with your own comments on their contents and relevance for your project. It is also common to add some indication of how you plan to use them in your project. Although annotated bibliographies will look different in different disciplines, you will often find the following elements:
|What to include:||How to write:|
Write a full bibliographic reference in the
|Descriptive comment||Sum up the contents of the article / text in|
your own words. Also comment on whether
the source is representative for the field and
if / how it differs from other sources on the
same or similar subjects.
|Evaluative comment||In your own words, comment on the quality|
/ value of each source. Note that although
this part is very useful for you during your
writing, it is not always appropriate to
include such evaluations in your project text.
|Suggested use in the project||Add a reflection on how you think you will|
be able to use the source in your project.
This is something you may have reason to
come back to and revise at a later stage.
Advice to writers of annotated bibliographies
Read your sources closely
Your annotations - the entries in your annotated bibliography - will rely on how well you have read and understood the source texts you use. In order to read efficiently, you need good reading strategies. See
An annotation is not an abstract
Although annotations are short and sum up essential aspects of articles, for instance, they are not the same thing as abstracts. An abstract is a short text you write summing up your degree project or an article. For information about abstract writing, see
As you sum up a text, make sure you know how to paraphrase correctly. See