An annotated bibliography is a compilation of citations and annotations of sources used for a researched topic. The format of the citations vary depending on the style, but the annotations remain generally the same and typically consist of some or all of the following:
1. an explanation of the main points or arguments of the source
2. the verification of the credibility of the author of the source
3. comments on the relevance of the source to the topic/field and the writer's research paper
4. any biases or perspectives worth nothing
When writing an annotated bibliography for a class, it is important to note and defer to the specifications outlined by the professor in the assignment handout.
Annotated bibliographies are important steps during the research process. As you move further along in academia, the breadth of your research may increase, meaning the number of sources to consult may grow too large to become easily manageable. Having an annotated bibliography is a practical way to keep track of all your sources, as well as encourage you to read through each one more critically than you would if you were simply just collecting information.
When it comes to the idea of scholarship as a conversation, creating annotated bibliographies is a great way to contextualize how your own research and voice fits within what has already been said about your particular topic. Additionally, some annotated bibliographies are published, and in doing so they provide a comprehensive and concise look at the current knowledge of a topic. Looking at other researchers' annotated bibliographies may even influence your own.