Difference Between Annotated Bibliography and Literature Review

When writing an essay or a research paper, the format that has to be followed is very important. The format gives the write-up its meaning and the importance of that particular paper.


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Different essays have different formats, depending upon the type of essay being written and the cause.

Annotated Bibliography vs Literature Review

The difference between Annotated Bibliography and Literature Review is that an Annotated Bibliography is a write-up containing the sources, book citations, different articles, and brief descriptions of the same, which have been used for writing the essay. Whereas a literature review is an essay, that gives a brief explanation of a certain topic, in an easy-to-understand manner.

Annotated Bibliography vs Literature Review

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An Annotated Bibliography contains all the information about the different sources that have been used to write a particular essay.

This could be citations from books, articles from different authors, or any other form of written content that has contributed to the creation of that particular write-up. It also includes a brief description of these sources.

 A Literature Review on the other hand is a small essay or an overview of a particular topic. Literature Review is written to provide a brief idea about a particular topic, before diving into the main content.

It is written while converting a project into written format and it gives a brief description of the project.

Comparison Table

of Comparison
Annotated BibliographyLiterature Review
DefinitionIt is a write-up that provides brief information about each of the sources used for writing the essayIt is a small overview of the topic or the project and it gives a brief idea of the project
PurposeIt is written to describe the sources used for writing the projectIt is written to briefly explain the project
LengthThe overall length depends on the number of annotations used. Each annotation is roughly about 150 wordsVaries with the size of the entire research. It can span from a few pages to an entire chapter(20 pages)
ContentContent is made after separately analyzing each sourceContent is written after analyzing the entire research thoroughly
FormatThe content is listed alphabeticallyIt is written in the form of a brief overview of the topic

What is Annotated Bibliography?

Annotated Bibliography is a written text that is written while making a thesis or a research paper. It is written in the form of a list, containing all the sources used for conducting the research.

This list contains details about the various sources used. The details are also written briefly to provide information about each source use.

Each entry in the Annotated Bibliography is written in about 150 to 200 words, to give complete information about the source. This includes the author of the particular book or information about the researchers involved in that particular article.

Publishing history such as the name of the publishing house, the date, place of publication, volume number of that particular work, and other such pieces f information are also included in the entry to the annotated bibliography.

Page number of a particular article is also a key aspect of entry to the annotated bibliography. All this information is written to justify the inclusion of that particular article in the research. This gives a good idea about the domain of the research to anyone reading it.

Annotated Bibliography is written in alphabetical order and contrary to other write-ups in the research book, it is in the form of a bulleted list.

annotated bibliography 1

What is Literature Review?

A Literature Review is a small essay written in the form of an overview of the project or research. It is included at the beginning of a project book or a research paper and it provides a brief overview of the content of the project.

It is written in the form of a brief description of the project or research and it includes everything about the project, from the main objectives to the final scope and practical usage. 

Thus a literature review is written after completing the project and analyzing it thoroughly. The length of the entire literature review may vary, depending on the size of the project and the purpose of writing.

Depending on the purpose, the level of detail and thoroughness of explanation will vary and this will add to the length of the write-up. Thus the writ-up can be from around a few pages long to the size of an entire chapter, roughly 20 pages long.

Either way, a literature review should include the entire explanation of the whole project, from the idea behind its conceptualization to the findings of the research to the practical application.

The literature review is often the first writ-up that a judging body or the audience goes through. Hence a well-written literature review is very important to the impression and the overall weight of the research paper.

literature review

Main Differences Between Annotated Bibliography and Literature Review

  1. Annotated Bibliography is a list providing brief information about the sources used for performing the research. Literature Review is a small overview about the topic or the research.
  2. Annotated Bibliography is written in the form of a bulleted list. Literature review is written in the form of a small essay.
  3. Overall length of Annotated bibliography depends upon the number of sources referred. Length of literature review may vary from a few pages to a whole chapter.
  4. Annotated bibliography is written in alphabetical order. Literature review is written after analyzing the whole research thoroughly.
  5. Purpose of writing annotated bibliography is to provide justification for the sources used for the research. Literature review is written to provide overview of the research.
  1. https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/citations/ADA099994
  2. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics/article/doing-a-literature-review/00B62000B6760AB78E1BD27E32A94C9F
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