Integral to any research endeavour are the sources to be used. These have to be scrutinised first before deciding on whether these should be used in an academic paper. To be able to determine if sources are reliable or relevant enough, an annotated bibliography is usually required so that you would not end up writing a whole paper only to find out later on that the sources you have used were not relevant to the field of study.
An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, journal articles, and other pertinent documents. A concise evaluation of usually 150 words follows each citation, whose purpose is to inform the readers of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources listed. In some instances, an annotated bibliography is required even before a research is undertaken.
How to write an annotated bibliography-the dos and don’ts
Writing a comprehensive annotated bibliography involves a variety of research and writing skills. You should have the patience for looking for the best possible sources relevant to your proposed topic, and you should not just take a passing look at sources then use them as sources just because they contain words related to your topic.
You should have the expertise and familiarity with the subject to ensure that the selected primary and secondary sources fit with the thesis of your work. What you should not do is skim through the whole process just for the sake of finishing it.
Lastly, you should be able to understand and, more importantly, clearly express in words how the chosen texts are relevant to the research. And this involves time, and maybe lots of it.
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