You have just been given an assignment to write an annotated bibliography. Before you begin, you need to know what exactly an annotated bibliography is and how to get started. An annotation is more than just a brief summary of an article, book, Web site or other type what to write in a bibliography publication. An annotation should give enough information to make a reader decide whether to read the complete work.
In other words, if the reader were exploring the same topic as you, is this material useful and if so, why? How is an annotation different from an abstract? While an abstract also summarizes an article, book, Web site or other type of publication, it is purely descriptive. Although annotations can be descriptive, they also include distinctive features about an item. Annotations can be evaluative and critical as we will see when we look at the two major types of annotations. A descriptive or informative annotated bibliography describes or summarizes a source as does an abstract, it describes why the source is useful for researching a particular topic or question, its distinctive features. In addition, it describes the author’s main arguments and conclusions without evaluating what the author says or concludes.
This editorial from the Economist describes the controversy surrounding video games and the effect they have on people who use them. The author points out that skepticism of new media have gone back to the time of the ancient Greeks, so this controversy surrounding video games is nothing new. The article also points out that most critics of gaming are people over 40 and it is an issue of generations not understanding one another, rather than of the games themselves. Please pay attention to the last sentence. While it points out distinctive features about the item it does not analyze the author’s conclusions. An analytical or critical annotation not only summarizes the material, it analyzes what is being said.
It examines the strengths and weaknesses of what is presented as well as describing the applicability of the author’s conclusions to the research being conducted. For most of your annotated bibliographies, however, you will be writing analytical or critical annotations. The article points out that most critics of gaming are people over 40 and it is an issue of age not of the games themselves. Please note that in these samples, the citations follow the APA format. Your instructor may require you to use another citation format, such as MLA, so check first.