Both college and university students frequently receive assignments that require them create annotated bibliographies. Although basically an extended version of usual bibliography, annotated bibliography is often more time and energy consuming because students need to not only list sources, but also write short summaries and assessments for each of them. In order to write it really good, it is important to define your topic clearly.
The topics that professors of US colleges provide are often quite broad. Therefore, it is up to students to narrow their individual annotated bibliography topics in scope, so that most relevant sources could be chosen. Here are some recommendations on how to choose worthy topics and write paper that will impress your professors.
Definition & Purpose of Writing
Before discussing annotated bibliography ideas, let’s clarify its definition and how it differs from a simple bibliography. Bibliographies that are also known as References or Works Cited, depending on the chosen formatting style, only list sources used in a paper. In contrast, annotated bibliographies have more broad purposes as they not only list but also describe and/or evaluate all sources, to which students refer in their research papers or other kinds of essays.
Although annotated bibliographies are often presented in the very end of papers, after reference pages, they should be completed long before paper drafting. Students may prepare them with different purposes in mind. Here are some goals students may pursue:
- Topic clarification – annotated bibliographies may help clarify topics, narrowing scopes from general subjects to precise questions that may be effectively addressed in works of a requested length.
- Thesis statement development – based on current state of research, students elaborate their thesis statements, making them arguable as well as persuasive.
- Collecting relevant evidence – upon reviewing relevant sources students collect evidence they need to make strong arguments in their research papers.
- Identifying most promising research areas – annotated bibliographies clarify what has already been done; what research and conclusions are still to be made.
- Critical review of existing research – students critically assess existing studies, revealing unspecified biases or limitations.
Disregarding the exact purpose of writing this paper type, one always gains advantages from this kind of work. They enable students collect most relevant information along with presenting it in a form that can be quickly reviewed in future.
What is an annotated bibliography essay?
It is important to distinguish annotated bibliographies from essays as the first are created at the stage of preparation to essay or research paper writing. Usually, they require neither introduction nor conclusion, but in some cases, both may be included. If your instructor demands you to write an annotated bibliography essay, keep introduction as well as conclusion rather brief. In the introduction, identify your topic clearly, specify your intentions for an annotated bibliography.
Structure & Formatting Rules You Should Follow
No matter what your topic for annotated bibliography is, you should follow certain structure and format the information you present in accordance with particular requirements. Although APA and MLA are two most frequently used formats, annotated bibliographies follow different formatting styles. Therefore, before writing, you should clarify this aspect with your professor.
Usually, all annotated bibliographies contain two major parts: a reference and an annotation. In your reference part, you should specify usual information about a source: author, title, year, place of publication. As for annotations, there are several approaches to their content that will be discussed a bit later. For more precise guidelines, please, refer to EduBirdie blog and find out how to write an annotated bibliography.
Mind that your choice of proper formatting style also depends on subjects. For instance, when preparing annotated bibliographies for humanities or arts, you should follow MLA. In contrast, psychology or sociology papers often demand students follow APA formatting requirements. While these styles are quite widespread, with others like CSE, which is used in physics or chemistry papers, Bluebook, used in law assignments, or IEEE, which is applied in IT papers, and AMA, used in healthcare works, students are less familiar.
Luckily, EduBirdie provides its customers with free access to IEEE bibliography generator as well as Turabian bibliography generator. Please, feel free to use them to create references that are often presented before annotations.
How do you write an annotated bibliography in Harvard style?
While writing an annotated bibliography in Harvard style, include a reference that follows this referencing style and an annotation that briefly summarizes the content of source, explains its relevance to your research paper, establishes its credibility, critically assesses the conclusions presented in source. Limit your descriptions to 100-200 words, unless your professor specifies otherwise.
Annotated Bibliography Styles
Annotated bibliographies can be divided into three distinct groups by style:
- Summarizing annotated bibliographies
Annotated bibliographies belonging to this category can be further subdivided into those that describe sources, merely indicating overall information about the content, and those that inform readers, providing more detailed summaries of reviewed sources. For instance, informative annotations of academic articles will clarify the sources’ hypotheses, methods, results, as well as limitations among other important features.
- Evaluative annotated bibliographies
These annotations aim at assessing quality of sources and arguing regarding relevance of given sources to the conducted research. Students writing them should also specify any limitations they find that were not acknowledged by authors. Writing such annotations, students need to read sources critically, which suggests that the quality of their pre-writing research increases significantly.
- Mixed annotated bibliographies
As evident, these annotations require students prepare summaries as well as assessments. Usually, students present a brief source summary in the first paragraph of annotation. The assessment follows in the second paragraph. In the third brief paragraph, students may clarify how exactly they should use reviewed source in their papers.
College-level annotations are often short. It is enough to write 100-200 words for each source. Although longer annotations are also possible, especially when tasks demand students evaluate sources, it is important to clarify this aspect with your professor before completing assignments.
What do you write about in an annotated bibliography?
In their annotations, students should summarize sources’ content, provide assessment of ideas presented in sources, and explain how reviewed sources will be used in the paper. The exact content of annotations depends on the requested style. Therefore, it is important to clarify this aspect with professors.
How to Choose Good Topics
When choosing among annotated bibliography topics, consider your paper length. The longer your assignment is, the more complex your topic may be. As for shorter papers, it is beneficial to limit topics in scope in manner that allows making the strongest argument. For instance, human trafficking topic would be too general, too wide in scope for a 5-page paper.
There is so much information available about human trafficking that it is virtually impossible to squeeze it into five pages of text. Therefore, it is more sound to try and divide this large topic into subtopics.
For instance, in context of human trafficking, one can discuss particular population groups that are most affected by this phenomenon in a particular country, specific measures introduced by governmental agencies to eliminate this practice within the borders of certain country, police and other agencies’ responses to human trafficking victims in particular states and so on.
Each of this sub-topics may become a really good start, as it narrows research scope significantly, enabling students choose sources more precisely. Additionally, these sub-topics allow students develop strong argumentative thesis statements, which would be impossible with such a general topic as human trafficking.
What Sources Are Good for Annotated Bibliography?
While the choice of sources often depends on particular assignment guidelines, mind that all sources that you plan citing in paper should be present in your annotated bibliography. The sources are rather diverse and include academic articles, books or book chapters, credible websites or governmental agencies’ reports, lecture notes, or blog posts among many others.
Academic writing demands students using credible sources. Therefore, Wikipedia and the like websites should be neither cited nor annotated. While choosing among the many options, look for different sources of information, but mind that academic articles are often considered most preferred. They usually contain credible, most relevant information on a given topic.
Annotated Bibliography Topics List
Here are some annotated bibliography topics that we’ve prepared for your convenience. They are divided into categories by subjects. Among the presented topics, there are several rather broad, but depending on your paper length, feel free to narrow the scope of your chosen topic. If you need to argue a particular position, consider reading EduBirdie blog post on opinion essay topics. Mind that there are dozens of options for individual approach!
Topics related with politics and political science
- How has politics changed due to modernization lately?
- How has terrorism affected US politics?
- Does the increasing focus on presidential candidates suggest that American political parties are becoming weak? Explain, why.
- Religion and politics: how religion shapes the United States political space?
- How American foreign policy affects political decisions in neighboring countries?
- Politics and business: how US political decisions affect business worldwide?
- Political decisions and their consequences: how will cutting off Huawei from American technology affect United States and/or European consumers?
- Is balance of power still achievable in today’s US politics?
- As there are only two political parties, how democratic is American society, given that other democracies worldwide allow citizens choose among dozens of parties?
- How has American politics changed due to new social media development and popularity?
- Teacher classroom practices and student performance: effects of particular practices on students’ educational outcomes.
- Which educational practices are developmentally appropriate for early childhood education?
- Ethics and politics in early childhood education.
- Racial disparities and the American classroom: how racial discrimination affects racial minority students, white students, or learning altogether?
- Home-schooling versus traditional educational classroom: which one is better?
- Is measurement-driven instruction still relevant today?
- A common curriculum versus individual curriculum: which one is more beneficial for students? Discuss, why.
- Who should determine what students learn, schools, parents, or government?
- Race and education: multiculturalism versus color-blindness and their impact on racial bias.
- Racial color blindness and its implications for American classroom.
Annotated bibliography topics for psychology
- How biological processes determine human behavior?
- Is alcoholism a disease that can be cured with psychological interference.
- Is psychotherapy effective?
- Should there be any academic instruction for preschool children?
- Can individual’s intelligence increase with age?
- Positive psychology and its daily life applications.
- Behavior predictions in personality and social psychology.
- Internet, its implications on personality and social psychology.
- A social constructivist approach and language learning.
- Statistical methods usage in psychology.
- Discuss differences between Medicaid and Medicare.
- Can all United States citizens have equal access to healthcare?
- Implications of abortion illegal status: impact of lack of abortion clinic access on women’s health as well as welfare.
- Veterans’ healthcare: health-related quality of life.
- Modern technology, healthcare: how has US healthcare within the last twenty years due to technology innovations.
- Big data analytics in healthcare.
- Transcultural nursing.
- Workplace stress in nursing.
- Evidence-based practice in healthcare as well as nursing.
- Role of emotional intelligence in healthcare along with nursing practices.
- Which one is more serious: street crime or white collar crime?
- Can arrests reduce domestic violence?
- How should juveniles be treated by the US criminal justice system?
- Is the US criminal justice system racially biased?
- Discuss school-to-prison pipeline concept; its effects on racial minorities.
- Is death penalty an effective crime deterrent?
- Discuss death penalty in relation to women; mentally handicapped; the US constitution.
- Does policing in racial minority communities differ from policing in white communities. Discuss, how exactly.
- Are there any biological determinants of criminal behavior?
- How social factors promote crime?
- Animal rights in the Information Age.
- Should rich nations financially support poor nations?
- Surrogate motherhood: pros and cons.
- How important is morality? Should it be enforced by law in the United States?
- Teen pregnancy: its short-term as well as long-term implications.
- Ethics and morality in American high schools.
- Adolescent marriages.
- Moral responsibilities of rehabilitating criminals.
- Is advertising ethical? Discuss moral implications of advertising.
- Ethics and morality in business.
Society, social issues
- Homelessness in the US; its impacts on particular territories; for instance, New York homelessness issue.
- Drunk driving, its implications, as well as effective deterrents.
- Obesity as a social issue. What social factors contribute to obesity?
- The vaccine war: should vaccination be compulsory?
- Capital punishment as the US social issue.
- Consumer culture and people’s supermarket choices.
- The mainstream culture concept. Mainstream culture effects on cultural minorities.
- Women’s bodies objectification: who is there to blame?
- Success in today’s society: meaning, ways of achieving it.
- Society and gender: are women less privileged in modern American society than men?
Technology, social media topics
- Do modern social media help solve problems in the United States or other countries worldwide? Discuss, how exactly.
- Do socials create problems in the US?
- What effects do medias have on children experiences? Does childhood now differ from childhood 20 years ago?
- How media contribute to ever-increasing globalization?
- How modern social media affect American values?
- Is privacy possible in the Information Age?
- How media images impact youth behavior?
- Political power of social media.
- How communication technology and social media changed PR practices?
- Government transparency enabled by social media technology.
Technology, genetic engineering
- How can human cloning affect modern society? Is it good/ morally acceptable or not?
- Law effects on human cloning: what legal regulations should governments worldwide introduce?
- Modern reproductive technologies and religion: how faith affects decision-making?
- How human cloning can be used as a means against genetic diseases?
- How can genetic engineering be regulated?
- Genetic engineering as a means to resolve health-related issues.
- Funding genetic engineering projects: which projects should be prioritized?
- Does genetic engineering change human life value perceptions.
- Genetic engineering ethical implications.
- The spirit of invention versus public opposition to genetic engineering.
Technology, healthcare topics
- What effects does telemedicine technology have on healthcare quality?
- Addressing mental health issues with technology: integrating smartphone technology.
- Healthcare information technology and physicians’ experiences/responses.
- Healthcare information systems: how has they changed within the last several decades?
- Improving quality of healthcare with technology: innovations in surgery.
- Digitization of healthcare through mobile technology.
- How can speech-recognition technology be applied for healthcare purposes.
- The problem of donor shortage and organ replacement technologies.
- Funding priorities impacts on technology developments that bring direct medical benefits to US citizens.
- Costs and benefits of health information technology.
Ask Experts Deal with Your Annotated Bibliography Topics
While annotated bibliography is just a preparation for writing a real research paper, it is time as well as energy consuming. To write a really good annotated bibliography, students need to review tons of sources and choose those few of them that are most applicable to their research topic. Use expert help to avoid this nightmare. Instead of spending hours in front of a computer screen because your teacher said so, enjoy your day the way you want.
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