How to write an Annotated Bibliography

When given an assignment to write an annotated bibliography, your first step should involve a thorough understanding of what a bibliography is and how it is written.

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotation provides more than just a summary of a book or article; it gives a detailed overview of material under analysis to get the reader to decide whether to continue reading a piece of writing or not. An annotated bibliography provides an organized list of citations to documents, books and articles. Here, the writer provides the citation followed by a brief evaluative and description paragraph, usually 150 words. The primary aim of written an annotated bibliography is to show the accuracy, relevance, and the quality of evidence from the cited sources.

An annotated bibliography differs widely from an abstract. While an abstract is purely descriptive and provides a summary of a book, article, website or any other type of writing, an annotated bibliography goes further to identify distinctive features about a piece of writing. Annotations can be highly evaluative and critical.

Why write an annotated bibliography?

The drive to write an annotated bibliography will significantly vary depending on the assignment given. Among the significant reasons include;

  • Provide descriptions of items that might be interesting to researchers
  • Review the literature on a particular subject
  • Give examples of primary sources of information on a topic
  • Demonstrate that you have conducted research on a particular topic
  • help in the development of a thesis on a particular subject

The process of writing an annotated bibliography

Like any other form of writing, an annotated bibliography needs the writer to have special skills in order to write an excellent annotation. A variety of intellectual skills are critical in writing annotated bibliographies including; informed library search, succinct analysis, and a concise exposition. With these key skills, you can be sure of writing a professional annotation.

In writing your annotated bibliography, follow these steps

Step 1: Choose your sources

This is the very first step in writing an annotated bibliography. Before starting to write, it is essential to choose your sources carefully. Choose only those sources that you can well understand the message being communicated or a topic that interests you. For instance, if you are writing an annotated bibliography about change management in a business context, look for all relevant books and articles addressing change management and note down their titles in a notebook. All the relevant materials you find are your sources. To make the best choice for a topic, you must conduct in-depth research much like any other project type. Engage in a thorough search for records that relate to materials relevant to your argument. Engaging in an exhaustive search for materials will ensure that you only collect materials that are highly applicable and hose evidence can be relied on.

Step 2: Review the collected items

Briefly examine and review the materials obtained then select the ones that offer a variety of perspectives about your chosen subject.  In this step, skimming through the articles’ abstracts would be much helpful. In the example above, this step would involve thorough scrutiny of the selected source materials on business change management to identify the ones with more relevant evidence.

Step 3: Writing the citation and annotation

In this step, begin by writing down the citation followed by the annotation. Ensure your annotation is concise and gives a summary of the central theme and scope of the article or book under study. Critical information to be included in the annotation include; the evaluation of the author’s background or authority, comments about the target audience, a comparison between this work and other cited work, and an explanation of the applicability of this work to your topic of study.

The following should be included in your annotated bibliography depending on your topic

  1. The primary objective of your work
  2. summarized version of its contents
  • The type of audience you are targeting
  1. The relevance of our work to the topic
  2. The strengths, weaknesses and criticisms in the material
  3. The exceptional features in the material

Arrange the annotated bibliography according to the instructions of your teacher.  Annotated bibliographies may assume an alphabetical or chronological order depending on the preferences of your instructor.

Formatting citations

Citations need to be formatted accordingly to match the set standards of writing. Citations can be written in APA, MLA, Harvard or Chicago style. These formatting styles differ accordingly, and therefore you will need to have prior knowledge on the style you would like or required to use. You will always be given guidelines on which style to use. In case you are unsure of which style to use, check with your instructor for further guidance.

Example of an annotated bibliography in APA

Wallace, J. K., Goldschneider, W. K., & Witsberger, L. (2017). Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional family orientations among young adults. American Sociological Review, 51, 541-554.

The two authors are researchers at Rand Corporation and Brown University. By using data from the National Longitudinal surveys of youths, they tested their hypothesis that nonfamily living greatly influences the exceptions, plans, values and attitudes of young adults pushing them away from their stereotypes about traditional sex roles. In their findings, the two researchers found out that …..

From the above example, continue by stating the findings of the authors and comparing the outcomes with another similar study, preferably cited within your work.

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How to write a Book Review

Writing a book does not give reviewers an opportunity to generate a summary of written work instead it is an opportunity to critically discuss the contents of the book. A reviewer is expected to combine accurate reading with analytical skills to present an intense and personal touch to the review.  A formal book review describes the contents of a book, analyzes the strategies applied in the book to achieve its purpose, and shows the reviewers reactions and claims from different perspectives.  A book review offers the author an opportunity to share their thoughts with fellow readers as well as assess their analytical skills. However, writing a book review might not be as easy as it may sound. The reviewers need to have some special skills to write a critical analysis that will win the trust of the readers. In this article, we show you how to write a book review that will not only attract the attention of your audience but also make your writing more critical and informative.

Preparing to write

  • In this critical step, read the book, multiple times if possible while taking notes. Make clear but simple notes. However, the notes don’t have to be organized in any formal way since the primary goal is to brainstorm any ideas you might have about the book.
  • Identify the genre of the book and consider how it fits in its genre or study field. Reading outside sources on the topic can help you familiarize yourself with the field of study. For instance, if you are reviewing a scientific book on the development of new treatments for HIV/AIDS in the 21st century, you can consider reading other books that address a similar issue within the same time period.
  • Identify the major themes of the book which includes the fundamental ideas communicated in the piece of writing.
  • Consider the authors writing style, any literary devices used and the general presentation of the major themes

Describe the plot

The first thing the readers would want to know is about the book you are reviewing. Therefore, you should describe the plot of the book, but you must make sure that you make it balanced. Your intention here is to give enough to hook the audience without getting into much details or getting more in-depth in the book. Give a comprehensive background of the book on the plot and let you focus be on the elements you find more critical or those that you think your audience will want to knowJust as you would in any type of essay,carefully select passages from the book you are reviewing to support your argument.

Think about your audience

It is essential to consider the target audience before writing any piece of work. Knowing the audience enables you to tailor your writing to meet the demands of your audience. Like any other type of paper, book reviews are targeted to individual readers and thus understanding the target audience will enable you to make your message more appealing to your audience. Even if you are reviewing a book that did not fit your personal reading preferences, there is a probability that it will do so to your readers, and your excellent review might help them.

Identify the hook

You have understood your audience, and now it is time to prepare on how to get them to read your review. When writing a book review, you must consider what will make your audience read your review and not just scroll up and forget to offer any comments or give their insights. You must plan wisely how you will make your review convincing enough in order to garner positive reviews and to ensure your audience prefers your work. Therefore, try to get your audience hooked from the very beginning of your review; otherwise waiting to do so at the middle or the end might make you lose it all. Consider your initial inspiration to writing the review and let that guide you into writing it on your own way.

Personal reaction/analysis

This is the most crucial part of a book review. This section shows your analytical skills as well as creativity and reading and interpreting information. In this section, explore your prior experiences with the subject matter and personal connections. You can also explain the pre-existing misconceptions that you or others may have about the subject and that you have brought to the review. This section gives you the chance to explain how the contents of the book affected you and to what extent you agree or disagree with what the author is trying to communicate. To get a perfect picture of the author’s message you can analyze the author’s motivations, outcomes and initial intention along with strengths and weaknesses of their message. Explain both the praises and critiques of the author’s message.


End your review by recommending for or against the book. Declare your individual stand about the book and give reasons for your choice.  This section gives you an opportunity to make general statements about the book with regard to the quality and overall value of the text.

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How to write Satire Essay- Complete Guide

In the course of their study, students are compelled to write various types of essays. Satire essay, like any other type of article, requires specific skills for the writer because it can pose a significant challenge. This genre of writing is highly based on people and their lives. The primary requirements for writing a mind-blowing satire essay is humor and excellent writing skills. Satirical articles involve using real-life examples, but t is advisable to avoid hurting human feelings or violating their rights. This writing guide is well drafted to help you in writing an influential satire essay… it offers you a step-by-step guideline on how to go about developing this essay.

What is a satire essay?

A satire essay is a specific genre of literature that is primarily written criticize a person, group, activity or an event that. The essay is characterized by specific traits such as sarcasm, humor and irony and carries a serious tone despite its satirical nature. This essay presents a challenge to students because they must understand the topic well, provide individual views on the subject, identify other related issues and give opinions in a more satirical way. In most cases, satire essays are written to criticize political candidates during election periods, and it is purposely done to poke fun. Despite its humorous and somewhat sarcastic nature,  satire essay presents researched facts. The goal of the writer here is not just to create fun and laughter, but rather the author is usually guided by the desire to make a particular point about a subject of interest. Naturally, this kind of essay assumes a more opinionated format and allows the writer to involve individual opinion and perspective on the subject under study. This feature makes satirical essays more unique from other types of essays.

Special writing tips

The basic requirements in writing a satire essay are attention to details and general knowledge of the subject area.  Start by discovering your task, the specific needs, including the topic preferences, length of the paper and its structure. These requirements are mostly college-based. Research thoroughly on the necessary information concerning your topic. Read extensively on any prominent satire essays that may be helpful in developing your essay as well as in helping you develop a personal vision of your topic. Ensure you apply the critical, satirical elements including hyperbole, humour and irony. Besides, sarcasm is also useful when writing this essay although it should be used sparingly to avoid hurting people’s feelings or violating particular individual rights. Therefore, minimize on the use of this element when writing your satire essay.

Steps for writing a satire essay

Selecting a topic

Choosing the right topic is the first and essential step in writing a satire essay. The topic you choose will determine how creative and appealing you will be to your audience. Taking keen steps helps you to select the most exciting topic to you, and thus you will be able to write a mind-blowing essay that will also spark eh interest of your audience.  The best topic to select is one that other people can follow easily and relate. Writing on a topic that others can easily identify with makes them sympathize with you or to laugh. Getting either of the two responses from the audience clearly indicates that you have succeeded in your essay writing. It is highly advisable to select topics that relate to current issues in the political arena or on the media. Ensure your preferred topic contains a good sense of humor.  The next step would be to figure out the kind of message you want to put across. Ensure the humor is directed towards the overall point of the essay.

Know your audience

Your audience is the primary target for your essay. After generating the topic and narrowing down your choice to one specific idea, consider whether the topic will be appealing to your audience. The audience can be your classmates, teachers or a group of professionals. Depending on the nature of your audience, tailor your message including your tone to meet their demands and expectations.  Before you start writing, choose whether you want your essay to sound formal or casual.

The writing stage
At this stage, you have your outline; you have selected your topic, narrowed down to a specific idea and have established your audience so what remains in writing down your satire essay. Some essential tips in writing a decent essay include;

  • stick to the facts
  • ensure your language is strategically chosen and exaggerates the irony
  • make extensive use of hyperbole to amplify your points
  • the more sarcastic your essay sounds, the better
  • add more humor

A satire essay should primarily reflect an individual’s opinions on a particular topic. Just like a reflective essay, the writer has some degree of freedom to be creative, but you need to ensure your views are backed with real facts about the subject at hand. The combination of solid facts with personal opinions makes satirical essay more effective and influential the readers. Remember, a satirical essay is persuasive in nature, therefore, give it the taste.