Annotated Bibliography, Historiography, and Abstract Help
Even more than a bibliography, an annotated bibliography is prepared especially for your reader with his or her concerns specifically in mind. In essence it tells a reader why and how a particular book is a helpful or important source of information on the topic. Many times, an instructor will ask you to write an annotated bibliography before your paper is due so that he or she can read it and check to see whether or not you are using the right sources, and if you are reading helpful information. An annotated bibliography also saves you valuable time and a great deal of effort. If an instructor requests an annotated bibliography, reads it, and returns it immediately, he or she can often catch any errors in your research process before you spend too many hours in the library looking at useless sources.
What exactly is an annotated bibliography? Essentially, it is a bibliography with notes or notations. What does this mean? An annotated bibliography follows the same format as a regular bibliography except that after you list all your information for each source, you provide a sentence or two about why and how a particular book or piece of information is valuable to your research. Once again, if you cannot state why a book is helpful to you or helps prove your thesis, then you should not consult that particular book. For example, an annotated bibliography or version of a book you have consulted might look like this:
Miller, Sue. President Kennedy's White House Staff. London: Oxford University Press, 1989. This book is critical to understanding White House policy in the last days of President Kennedy's term because it provides full, unedited interviews with several of President Kennedy's key staff members. In addition to interviews with policy makers of the time, it also provides a comprehensive, chronological listing of Kennedy's policies and legislation during his presidency and includes excerpts from Kennedy's own diary.
Again, while this can seem like an unnecessary process that takes a great deal of time, it is critical. By writing an annotated bibliography, you allow a reader looking over your notations to immediately know the value of a particular source without him or her having to consult the book itself. Be careful, however, when you write your annotated bibliography. Be sure that your description of the books you consulted is not personal. Don't write, "I really liked this book because it was so cute and colorful and full of fun interviews. " An annotated bibliography is not an individual, personal, or informal review. Be professional and use formal language; assume a tone of authority and respect for your reader. Also, be sure to state not only whether or not a particular source is helpful, but how it is helpful. Include details and be specific. A description such as "This book is helpful because it contained a lot of illustrations," does not tell your reader what type of illustrations he book provides or how they shed light on your topic. You do not have to write an entire novel or even ten sentences that describe every single feature of your book. You are only highlighting those features of your book that are of critical importance to your reader. Many instructors require an annotated bibliography early in the research process or like to examine one before they ultimately read your paper because it allows them to evaluate your sources and determine if you are on the right "thinking" track. Many times, before you take all your notes and put them on note cards, an instructor will ask you to assess your sources. Obviously, those sources that do not offer precise information, offer information that is irrelevant to your topic and to your thesis, or are poorly written, are not valuable ones for you.
Add your own comment
Today on Education.com
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- The Five Warning Signs of Asperger's Syndrome
- What Makes a School Effective?
- Child Development Theories
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Test Problems: Seven Reasons Why Standardized Tests Are Not Working
- Bullying in Schools
- A Teacher's Guide to Differentiating Instruction
- Steps in the IEP Process