An annotated bibliography is a form of writing that summarizes a research that has been carried out listing, in alphabetical order, the sources from which the research data was derived. An annotated bibliography does not just list the bibliographic data but also provides a reader with a brief summary of each and every source used for the research, and a concise statement on how valuable and relevant each source was to the research. Depending on the instructions of the assignment, one may write an annotated bibliography as a single stage of a bigger research project, or may write the annotated bibliography as an independent project.

An annotated bibliography basically summarizes and restates the main argument of each source it covers. For instance, if an annotated bibliography is about academic sources, it will have to identify the thesis, hypothesis or research question of each academic source, the major methods that each source has used to bring across its arguments, and the main conclusion of each source. When writing an annotated bibliography, one should note that the identification of a source’s main arguments is totally different form describing and listing the contents of the source. Rather than list the contents of a source, an annotated bibliography gives a brief account of why the book is made up of these contents. Some of the guidelines that can help one to determine the scope of one’s research include the problem being investigated, the topic being covered, and the kind of material one is seeking information from.