As you see from the video, an annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.
Abstracts are the purely descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles or in periodical indexes. Annotations are descriptive and critical; they may describe the author's point of view, authority, or clarity and appropriateness of expression.
Creating an annotated bibliography calls for the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research.
The annotations should show how you're critically appraising and analyzing the sources for your bibliography, In addition to initially examine the nature of the source from the Author, Date, Edition, Publisher, and Title. You should examine the body of the source. Read the preface to determine the author's intentions for the book. Scan the table of contents and the index to get a broad overview of the material it covers. Note whether bibliographies are included. Read the chapters that specifically address your topic. Reading the article abstract and scanning the table of contents of a journal or magazine issue is also useful. As with books, the presence and quality of a bibliography at the end of the article may reflect the care with which the authors have prepared their work.
Annotation: Writing a reflection
In some assignments, you may be asked to include a reflection in your annotated bibliography. Most often, this is a reflection on how useful the source is for your own research or project for instance, if you are writing the annotated bibliography in preparation for an engineering design project). However, you could be asked to reflect on how the source relates to the themes in your research project. It is important that you read your instructions carefully. In instances where you are asked to reflect on how useful the source is for your own research, you will usually write a sentence or two stating whether or not the source will be helpful, and a brief explanation of why or why not.
Guidelines in Critical Analysis of the Source Content (Please note this is an initial list and does not include all the areas that might be requested by any specific assignments)
What type of audience is the author addressing? Is the publication aimed at a specialized or a general audience? Is this source too elementary, too technical, too advanced, or just right for your needs?
Is the publication organized logically? Are the main points clearly presented? Do you find the text easy to read, or is it stilted or choppy? Is the author's argument repetitive?