The Purpose of an Annotated Bibliography

Why Should I Write an Annotated Bibliography?

To learn about your topic:

  • Writing an annotated bibliography is excellent preparation for a research project.
  • Just collecting sources for a bibliography is useful, but when you have to write annotations for each source, you’re forced to read each source more carefully. You begin to read more critically instead of just collecting information.
  • At the professional level, annotated bibliographies allow you to see what has been done or explored by other scholars and where your own research or scholarship can fit into the field.
  • Writing an annotated bibliography can help you gain a good perspective on what is being said about your topic. By reading and responding to a variety of sources on a topic, you’ll start to see what the issues are, what people are arguing about, and where/how you can develop your own point of view.
  • Formulating a thesis helps you to base your research paper is an argument. The purpose of research is to state and support a thesis. So a very important part of research is developing a thesis that is debatable, interesting, and current.

To help other researchers:

  • Extensive and scholarly annotated bibliographies are sometimes published.
  • Annotated bibliographies provide a comprehensive overview of everything important that has been and is being said about that topic.