An Annotated Bibliography consists of two parts: the Bibliography and the Annotations.
An annotated bibliography starts out like any other Bibliography, by giving the information that would be needed for someone else to find and read the same article you did. This let's them see the source of your information and decide for themselves if your conclusions are valid and if they follow from the facts. Once you find the information needed to direct your reader to your source, you will simply organize it into a specific arrangement according to the style guide that is used in your field. Style Guides differ in the way that names are recorded (surname first, or only an initial for the given name, maybe an initial for each given name), the order of the information presented (does the publication date come before or after the title), the appearance of the text (it the title in quotation marks or italicized or underlined, are abbreviations allowed), and the punctuation used (are there periods or commas between pieces of information.) The information given in a citation is almost the same and it always serves the same purpose, to ensure that others can find your original source material. A good resource to get an overview of the different styles (and also good in depth information too) is Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL).
Once the citation is completed it is time to begin the second part, the Annotations. Your annotations describe and evaluate each source. This is where subjectivity starts to come in to the process. You will start by giving a summary of the article, this differs from an abstract though because you WILL need to include your opinion in this summary. You will explain if (and give reasons why or why not) this article was useful to you and whether it should be used as a resource by future researchers on this topic. When writing your annotations be sure that you:
Summarize the key points of the source. Try to answer all of the following questions:
Critique (evaluate) the source. Try to answer these questions:
Reflect on the usefulness of this source. Attempt to answer the following:
You can add your own notes to your citation tracker program of choice. That is a great place to make use of any and all annotations you write. It will save you time and frustration later in your careers when you want to find a source you have read before but can't remember exactly which one it was.