Abstract vs Annotated Bibliography

Abstract vs Annotated Bibliography
One of the most common questions our customers ask is the difference between abstract and annotated bibliography. This article is written with the purpose to discuss the differences between these two elements of written papers. 


An abstract is supposed to convey information about a book or an article. However, abstract should be writing objective style as the main purpose is to evaluate. Such evaluation is provided for readers to help them to decide whether the work is relevant for their purposes. A perfect abstract is the one that gives maximum information in a few words. 

There are several types of abstracts which are different in different disciplines. Also they can vary within a discipline. Some of the abstracts aim to describe methods and others tend to explain the purpose of the work. It is recommended to check with your instructor on expectations from your own abstract. 

Elements of an abstract: 
• Full bibliographic information 
• Details about the purpose of the work and its scope 
• Information about content in brief 
• Conclusion stating for whom this work can be relevant. 

Annotated Bibliography 

This short description of a book or an article is also called an annotation and characterizes the work by its relevance to readers. There are several types of annotated bibliography which depend on the content and purpose of described works. It is required to begin your annotated bibliography with complete citation of the literature source. 

Elements of an annotated bibliography: 
The following elements should be included in common type annotations: 
• Relevant background of the author, including degrees, titles. They might not be included if the author is extremely well-known. 
• Main purpose of the work. However, try to make your annotation pretty narrow. 
• Bias that you noticed in the work. 
• Reading difficulty and background of the audience. 
• Position of the work in the topic area and relation to other works. 
• Summarizing sentence. 

Writing about Reading 

Writing about reading difficulty is no a mandatory element which is included only when the audience is specific. For example, you can specify that the work can be of interest to scholars but might be difficult to understand by average uninformed reader. When writing your annotated bibliography, make sure you don’t repeat any words contained in the title. Use rewording to present your information and describe it the way that an informed person could easily infer from the title of the work 

It is recommended to stay relevantly critical and provide the information which will help readers to understand whether the work could be of any interest to them. Critical annotations use the past tense and summary annotations use the present tense. Most common length of annotations is 150 words. However, do not exceed the limit in 200 words. 

Ask your instructor about preferred citations that are specified before annotated bibliography. The most used citations styles are the American Psychological Association (APA) and Modern Language Association (MLA). You may get this information from your instructor or your handbook. 

Assistance is Readily Available 

If you still struggle with writing annotations or abstract or need help with any type of assignment or part of it, do not hesitate to send us a message. We know how to write all writing assignments!