Annotated bibliography introduction

Essentially annotated bibliography is a work cited page, but with a little extra. The listed resources may include books, journals, magazines, articles, government documents, primary sources, for instance, personal interviews or photographs, or basically any other source that is considered to be a reliable source used for a research or published document of a college level.

The “annotated” part refers to an explanation of importance of each entry, highlighting, it’s contribution to the topic that is being researched. Each annotation should be written in your own words and appropriately formatted according to the particular style; usually it is APA or MLA.

Decide whether you need a descriptive or a critical (also called evaluative) annotated bibliography. If you are collecting sources to refer back to for future projects, the annotations should include both descriptive and critical aspects.

The introduction usually identifies the topic that is being researched with the help of these sources as well as explains how and why these sources were selected. You may use personal pronouns like I and me as well as your name and explain in a couple of sentences the purpose of your research, how was your topic selected and in terms of which course was it discussed. Also mention how were you looking for the sources, how were they selected specifically for your topic and whether they were generally useful in terms of more general subject.

Typically the introduction to an annotated bibliography is quite short and consists of a couple of paragraphs including up to 300words. Introduction as well as the sources should be double spaced and the sources should be listed in alphabetical order and formatted the same way as that they would be formatted in the Works Cited or References page. An annotation itself should be placed below the each source. As a rule the annotation explains why is the work of a particular author important for our research and why the author is qualified enough to discuss this topic. It also tells about the subject of the source its strong and weak points and specific features like graphs and statistics that were included. If this is a critical annotation, it may also include reflection and researcher’s explanation why the source is useful and in which way can it be used.

Sometimes the introduction for annotated bibliography consists only of two or three sentences indicating only the purpose of the paper and what was done during the course and the particular research. And sometimes it is not needed at all since the first entry goes directly after the title of the work. This only means that there are no absolute rules regarding formatting and structure of such paper, that is why it is always better to clarify all the details with your instructor first.

Related articles:
1. Writing An Annotated Bibliography
2. Annotated Bibliography Example
3. Dos and Don’ts of Writing Annotated Bibliographies

Annotated bibliography cover page
Critical annotated bibliography