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Annotated bibliographies

Structure and organisation

Each entry in an annotated bibliography is known as a citation. Citations can be organised alphabetically like conventional bibliographies, or some tutors may ask for them to be organised by date of publication.

What should each citation include?

Your citation should include all the full bibliographic information you would use in a bibliography or reference list.

Each citation will then be followed by an annotation, which is a paragraph of between 100 and 300 words. This paragraph should:

  • indicate the background of the author(s) and whether that background influences the source material – eg if the material was commissioned by an organisation
  • sum up the contents of the source
  • identify the argument (research question, method, and findings) of the source
  • evaluate the source in terms of its relevance, authority and currency in the field, potential impact on the audience, and strengths and limitations of the method used
  • identify any particularly useful material in the source that will inform your work.

Break it into themed sections if needed

If you are working on a large and/or interdisciplinary research project, it might be helpful to structure your annotated bibliography by breaking it into themed sections.