Purpose of annotated bibliography

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Whether an annotated bibliography concludes an article, journal, book or any other published source, its purpose is to summarize the sources, show how they are related to each other and the discussed topic in particular, explain why the author of each one is considered to be qualified enough to talk about this issue, illustrate the quality of the completed work and conclude whether the source is actually useful for this and further research.

Basically there are two main reasons why you should write the annotated bibliography and they are: to learn about your topic and to help other researchers.

First of all, writing an annotated bibliography can serve you as a great preparation for your research. Since your project might be complicated, you might need to consult with numerous sources. This way you will be able to keep the running record of your research. Simply collecting the potentially useful sources is already a good thing to do, but having an annotation to each one will make you look at these sources more carefully and critically. This type of paper will also let you examine what was already done in this particular field, which aspects were researched, how they correspond with your own thoughts and how can you contribute with your work.

Each and every good research paper is an argument, purpose of which is to state and support a thesis. Well-formulated thesis is interesting, current and debatable. At this point writing an annotated bibliography will for sure help you gain a good perspective on what is generally said in regard to your topic in a variety of sources, which are the main ideas, points of view and arguments that are being discussed.

Another reason to write a annotated bibliography is to help other researchers. Your work can become a detailed reference for anyone who will go through your essay. In this regard your work should be written for public discussion. If people in the future will be using your research to consult with, it would be probably a good idea to offer a list of related works along with your personal comments. It will also let other people broaden their understanding of your thesis and the discussed issue.

Many researchers find it useful to craft an annotated bibliography while researching topics. These brief summaries will help you remember all those sources over time. Furthermore, by adding your personal opinion and critical evaluation, you will be able to find some common themes, see how often a particular resource is cited and what other researchers think need some additional  investigation in this field.

In college or university student are often asked to write annotated bibliographies as a first step to conducting formal research paper.  This way the instructor will ensure that student has investigated enough of reliable and reputable sources, developed his own ideas and got acquainted with a specific style of citing the references.

Usually professionals do not publish their annotated bibliographies. However, in a field, where a lot of information is already being published, it may happen since in this case researchers begin their study with searching for annotated bibliographies on a topic of their interest.
Related articles:
1. Two main reasons to write an annotated bibliography
2. Why do we write annotated bibliographies?
3. How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography

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