How to Write an Annotated Bibliography: MLA & APA & Chicago

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography: MLA & APA & Chicago
Sooner or later, every student has to face such a task, which for some reason always causes a number of perplexities and unwillingness to perform it. However, there is nothing really complicated if you spend a little time and figure it out. We are talking about an annotated bibliography.

After reviewing the annotated bibliography example a couple of times and identifying the key features of its structure, you will get rid of confusion when completing this task. Moreover, it is really worth to understand how to perform this task since many academic works require the skill of making such a list. In order to realize the essence, let's first understand what annotation is in general.

What Does It Mean?

Annotation means a brief text with key aspects. Before the beginning of this text, there must be data about the author.

An annotation often consists of two parts, but there may be more or less of them. The first part formulates the main theme of the book or articles and the second part lists the main provisions of the text.

In order to write an annotation correctly, it is better to carefully follow some simple rules. The writing language must be academic, but at the same time simple and accessible to almost everyone. It is necessary to state things briefly and clearly, to comply with the requirements that have been imposed on the content and structure of the article. Then everything will be done as needed.

What Is the Core Essence of Annotations?

Why is there a need for annotations? Let's look at a very simple bibliography example. Imagine a bookstore. You are passing through hundreds of books. However, you only take a few of them. And after studying the brief content, make your choice on one. In the end, only one book has overcome a crazy competition and this is the power of annotations.

Now let's take a look at what an annotated bibliography is. It means a list of sources. How does this list differ from ordinary bibliography? The answer is in the fact that each link is followed by a text summary of 100-200 words while an ordinary bibliography (or reference list) contains only the names of authors and works used while writing this or those academic paper.

How to Write Annotations Perfectly?

It is vital to realize the key phrases that must be entered into the text. Keywords will help people to better understand what will be discussed in the publication, whether to refer to the main content and so on.

A good way to exercise writing annotations is to do the following. Open the lists of the most popular books (you can go to the sites of large bookstores, including electronic ones) and view examples of an annotated bibliography. It is worth noting that you may face not so perfect examples among them too. When you start to study the annotation and feel the desire to read the full text, then you can take this one as a template and study it thoroughly, trying to create something similar.

It is recommended to create such annotations that will attract the attention of readers, to enthrall and motivate them to study a particular book or an article.

The Main Styles You Need to Know

  1. APA Style was developed by the American Psychological Association. Basically, this format is proposed to be used when describing the sources used in the study of social sciences.
  2. MLA Style was developed by the Association of Contemporary Languages of America. This format is widely used in the humanities, especially in writing in language and literature.
  3. Annotated bibliography Chicago style (Turabian) was developed and introduced by the University of Chicago Publishing House in 1906. It is most often used when writing term papers, dissertations and other works on history. Except for small differences, Turabian’s style is essentially the same as the Chicago citation style.

Annotated bibliography example APA

Marx, K. (1959). Das Kapital, a critique of political economy. Chicago: H. Regnery,

Marx writes his work using huge statistical material, quoting bourgeois newspapers, parliamentary and judicial reports, argues with representatives of other economic schools.
The text is written in a very lively, colorful language, small heavy theoretical fragments are diluted with a huge amount of visual statistical material, the information is easily perceived.

The first part describes what the author referred to for writing the text. The second paragraph tells about the stylistic features of the text.

Annotated bibliography example MLA

Marx, Karl. Das Kapital, a Critique of Political Economy. Chicago, H. Regnery, 1959.

The author explores the production starting from its smallest cell, namely the product. The capitalist's desire to reduce costs, increase the number of products, suppress their competitors causes incalculable disasters for workers, financial crises, a drop in the quality of goods and their fake. He describes the machinations of capitalists with the establishment of working time and a system of fines.

When the maximum impoverishment of workers and the maximum accumulation of capital by capitalists simultaneously reach maximum values, a socialist revolution occurs.

There is a brief description of the content highlighting the key aspects that are covered in the text.

Annotated bibliography example Chicago

Marx, Karl. Das Kapital, a Critique of Political Economy. Chicago: H. Regnery, 1959.

The author stands on purely materialistic positions with the a priori prevalence of matter over spirit. The author describes his own life experience in the era of primitive accumulation of capital with the need to adapt to hourly changing realities.
The book is suitable for those who want to learn the basics of economics what unemployment, environmental degradation, stupid and absurd political decisions are.

The annotation is relatively generalized, but there is a certain focus on some topics arising in the text.

Understandable Examples of Annotation Text

Here you can find annotations for scientific publications with a comment about its level.

Television has great educational potential. Moreover, this potential can have not only constructive consequences but also cause a reverse destructive effect. In this regard, the degree of social responsibility of the media in the context of the pedagogical education of young people is increasing every day.

This annotated bibliography sample can be described as a reference, as it is generalized.

This text discusses the main leadership qualities of top managers, with the aim of identifying a portrait of a flawless boss. The analysis of the study of American psychology specialists about the top manager's own qualities is given. Rational behavior is determined between the control unit and the team, taking into account the manager’s own qualities.

This is more detailed information that gives the reader a clear understanding of what the main text is about.

The text describes some lexical and stylistic features of the English-language sports Internet discourse. The description is based on an analysis of sports-related English-language Internet blogs.
The following lexical and stylistic means are considered: paraphrases, metonymy, slang vocabulary, features of the sports term system.

The annotation has a clear focus, there is a description of the text, the study. The reader can easily understand the relevance of this text.

As for non-scientific articles on the Internet, you can also find an abstract. But they are not so much reference as advisory in nature and are not issued in accordance with the styles. It will be a small advertisement that helps not only inform the reader about the content but also push him to read the full version.

As you can see, this is not difficult, but not easy as well. Be attentive to details, and then everything will turn out only in the best way. If you figure it out once, then later times you will forget that you had difficulties with it. Or you will simply be surprised and smile at the fact that earlier this brought you into despair.

Moreover, there are many detailed instructions in the general access, and you can also ask for a consultation on this question from your professor. Do not be afraid to seek assistance, as you will save yourself from repeating this situation in the future. Summing up, this kind of assignment needs time and attention for everything to turn out right.

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