How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography: The Annotated Bibliography

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Explanation, Process, Directions, and Examples

What is an annotated bibliography.

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

Annotations vs. Abstracts

Abstracts are the purely descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles or in periodical indexes. Annotations are descriptive and critical; they may describe the author's point of view, authority, or clarity and appropriateness of expression.

The Process

Creating an annotated bibliography calls for the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research.

First, locate and record citations to books, periodicals, and documents that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic. Briefly examine and review the actual items. Then choose those works that provide a variety of perspectives on your topic.

Cite the book, article, or document using the appropriate style.

Write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article. Include one or more sentences that (a) evaluate the authority or background of the author, (b) comment on the intended audience, (c) compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or (d) explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic.

Critically Appraising the Book, Article, or Document

For guidance in critically appraising and analyzing the sources for your bibliography, see How to Critically Analyze Information Sources . For information on the author's background and views, ask at the reference desk for help finding appropriate biographical reference materials and book review sources.

Choosing the Correct Citation Style

Check with your instructor to find out which style is preferred for your class. Online citation guides for both the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) styles are linked from the Library's Citation Management page .

Sample Annotated Bibliography Entries

The following example uses APA style ( Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 7th edition, 2019) for the journal citation:

Waite, L., Goldschneider, F., & Witsberger, C. (1986). Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional family orientations among young adults. American Sociological Review, 51 (4), 541-554. The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.

This example uses MLA style ( MLA Handbook , 9th edition, 2021) for the journal citation. For additional annotation guidance from MLA, see 5.132: Annotated Bibliographies .

Waite, Linda J., et al. "Nonfamily Living and the Erosion of Traditional Family Orientations Among Young Adults." American Sociological Review, vol. 51, no. 4, 1986, pp. 541-554. The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.

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MLA Style Annotated Bibliography | Format & Examples

Published on July 13, 2021 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on June 14, 2022.

An annotated bibliography is a special assignment that lists sources in a way similar to the MLA Works Cited list, but providing an annotation for each source giving extra information.

You might be assigned an annotated bibliography as part of the research process for a paper , or as an individual assignment.

MLA provides guidelines for writing and formatting your annotated bibliography. An example of a typical annotation is shown below.

Kenny, Anthony. A New History of Western Philosophy: In Four Parts . Oxford UP, 2010.

You can create and manage your annotated bibliography with Scribbr’s free MLA Citation Generator. Choose your source type, retrieve the details, and click “Add annotation.”

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Table of contents

Mla format for annotated bibliographies, length and content of annotations, frequently asked questions about annotated bibliographies.

The list should be titled either “Annotated Bibliography” or “Annotated List of Works Cited.” You may be told which title to use; “bibliography” is normally used for a list that also includes sources you didn’t cite in your paper or that isn’t connected to a paper at all.

Sources are usually organized alphabetically , like in a normal Works Cited list, but can instead be organized chronologically or by subject depending on the purpose of the assignment.

The source information is presented and formatted in the same way as in a normal Works Cited entry:

  • Double-spaced
  • Left-aligned
  • 0.5 inch hanging indent

The annotation follows on the next line, also double-spaced and left-aligned. The whole annotation is indented 1 inch from the left margin to distinguish it from the 0.5 inch hanging indent of the source entry.

  • If the annotation is only one paragraph long, there’s no additional indent for the start of the paragraph.
  • If there are two or more paragraphs, indent the first line of each paragraph , including the first, an additional half-inch (so those lines are indented 1.5 inches in total).

MLA annotated bibliography

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MLA gives some guidelines for writing the annotations themselves. They cover how concise you need to be and what exactly you should write about your sources.

Phrases or full sentences?

MLA states that it’s acceptable to use concise phrases rather than grammatically complete sentences in your annotations.

While you shouldn’t write this way in your main text, it’s acceptable in annotations because the subject of the phrase is clear from the context. It’s also fine to use full sentences instead, if you prefer.

  • Broad history of Western philosophy from the ancient Greeks to the present day.
  • Kenny presents a broad history of Western philosophy from the ancient Greeks to the present day.

Always use full sentences if your instructor requires you to do so, though.

How many paragraphs?

MLA states that annotations usually aim to be concise and thus are only one paragraph long. However, it’s acceptable to write multiple-paragraph annotations if you need to.

If in doubt, aim to keep your annotations short, but use multiple paragraphs if longer annotations are required for your assignment.

Descriptive, evaluative, or reflective annotations?

MLA states that annotations can describe or evaluate sources, or do both. They shouldn’t go into too much depth quoting or discussing minor details from the source, but aim to write about it in broad terms.

You’ll usually write either descriptive , evaluative , or reflective annotations . If you’re not sure what kind of annotations you need, consult your assignment guidelines or ask your instructor.

An annotated bibliography is an assignment where you collect sources on a specific topic and write an annotation for each source. An annotation is a short text that describes and sometimes evaluates the source.

Any credible sources on your topic can be included in an annotated bibliography . The exact sources you cover will vary depending on the assignment, but you should usually focus on collecting journal articles and scholarly books . When in doubt, utilize the CRAAP test !

Each annotation in an annotated bibliography is usually between 50 and 200 words long. Longer annotations may be divided into paragraphs .

The content of the annotation varies according to your assignment. An annotation can be descriptive, meaning it just describes the source objectively; evaluative, meaning it assesses its usefulness; or reflective, meaning it explains how the source will be used in your own research .

No, in an MLA annotated bibliography , you can write short phrases instead of full sentences to keep your annotations concise. You can still choose to use full sentences instead, though.

Use full sentences in your annotations if your instructor requires you to, and always use full sentences in the main text of your paper .

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Caulfield, J. (2022, June 14). MLA Style Annotated Bibliography | Format & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 15, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/mla/mla-annotated-bibliography/

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Creating an Annotated Bibliography

  • What is an Annotated Bibliography

Writing an Annotation

Formatting an annotated bibliography.

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Components of an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is an APA reference list that includes a brief summary and analysis -- the annotation --  under the reference entry.  

An annotated bibliography includes:

  • APA Title page
  • Pages are numbered beginning with title page
  • References centered and bolded at top of page
  • Entries listed in alphabetical order
  • Annotations begin under its associated reference
  • Annotations are indented 0.5 inches from the left margin
  • The entire document is double spaced; no extra space between entries

Example of an annotated bibliography entry:

annotated bibliography referencing style

An  an n otated bibliography is composed of the full APA reference for a source followed by notes and commentary about that so urce. T he word  “annotate” means “critical or explanatory notes” and the word “bibliography” means “a list of sources”.  Annotation s are meant to be critical in addition to being descriptive.

Annotations are generally between five to seven sentences in length and appear directly under the APA reference.  The entire annotation is indented 0.5 inch from the left margin and lines up with the hanging indent of the APA reference.

Use the question prompts below as a guide when writing annotations:

• 2 to 4 sentences to  summarize   the main idea(s) of the source.

     - What are the main arguments?

     - What is the point of this book/article?

     - What topics are covered?

• 1 or 2 sentences to  assess   and  evaluate   the source.

     - How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography?

     - Is this information reliable? current?

     - Is the author credible? have the background to write on this topic?

     - Is the source objective or biased?

• 1 or 2 sentences to  reflect   on the source.

     - Was this source helpful to you?

     - How can you use this source for your research project?

     - Has it changed how you think about your topic?

  • a title page, and
  • the annotated bibliography which begins on its own page with the word References bolded and centered at the top of the page.

Each entry begins with an APA reference for the resource with the annotation appearing directly beneath. The entire annotation is indented 0.5 inches from the left margin.

Entries are listed in alphabetical order. The entire document is typed on one of the six approved font styles and sizes and is double spaced.  There is no additional space between entires.

Consider using Academic Writer or NoodleTools to create and format your annotated bibliography.  

annotated bibliography referencing style

APA Citation Style Resources and Tools

Apa academic writer.

Use the tools in the  References tab to create APA references for the resources in your annotated bibliography.  The form includes a text box for your annotation.  You can create your title page and assemble your annotated bibliography in the Write tab in this authoritative resource.

  • APA Academic Writer This link opens in a new window Formerly APA Style Central, Academic Writer is a digital library of quick APA guides and tutorials: - Learn - view videos and tutorials, test your APA knowledge with quizzes, and view sample papers, references, tables, and figures. - Reference - view tutorials, search APA dictionaries, develop research ideas, plan and track your research, and manage your references. - Write - use templates to write papers (includes step-by-step help), and work on saved papers. (Must create a personal account to use.)

Create and format your annotated bibliography in NoodleTools .  Find information on how to create an account, create APA references, and creating and formatting an annotated bibliography in the NoodleTools Guide.

  • NoodleTools Guide

This video below provides an overview of how to create an annotated bibliography including evaluating resources, writing annotations, creating APA references, and formatting the final document in the APA style. 

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Annotated Bibliography

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An  annotated bibliography  is a list of citations for various books, articles, and other sources on a topic. The annotated bibliography looks like a References page but includes an annotation after each source cited. An annotation is a short summary and/or critical evaluation of a source. Annotated bibliographies can be part of a larger research project, or can be a stand-alone report in itself.

Basic Tips on Formatting

  • Start with the same format as a regular References list.
  • The first line of the citation starts at the left margin and subsequent lines are indented 0.5 inches (hanging indent).
  • The annotation begins on a new line and is indented 0.5 inches from the left margin.
  • Entries are double-spaced with no extra lines between entries.
  • If the annotation consists of more than one paragraph, indent the first line of each successive paragraph an additional 0.5 inches.
  • Use the third person (e.g., he, she, the author) instead of the first person (e.g., I, my, me).

Sample Evaluative Annotation

Maak, T. (2007). Responsible leadership, stakeholder engagement, and the emergence of social capital.  Journal of Business Ethics ,  74 , 329-343. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-007-9510-5

This article focuses on the role of social capital in responsible leadership. It looks at both the social networks that a leader builds within an organization, and the links that a leader creates with external stakeholders. Maak’s main aim with this article seems to be to persuade people of the importance of continued research into the abilities that a leader requires and how they can be acquired. The focus on the world of multinational business means that for readers outside this world many of the conclusions seem rather obvious (be part of the solution not part of the problem). In spite of this, the article provides useful background information on the topic of responsible leadership and definitions of social capital which are relevant to an analysis of a public servant.

Useful Links for Annotated Bibliographies

The formatting of annotated bibliographies can vary. The University Libraries recommend the format exhibited in the examples below, but if you are still unsure what format to use, ask your professor. 

  • Includes a sample of one APA annotation (from the Purdue OWL).
  • A guide covering the basics of writing an annotated bibliography.
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Annotated Bibliographies

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What Is An Annotated Bibliography?

What is an annotated bibliography.

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations (references) to books, articles, and documents followed by a brief summary, analysis or evaluation, usually between 100-300 words, of the sources that are cited in the paper.  This summary provides a description of the contents of the source and may also include evaluative comments, such as the relevance, accuracy and quality of the source.  These summaries are known as annotations. 

  • Annotated bibliographies are completed before a paper is written
  • They can be stand-along assignments
  • They can be used as a reference tool as a person works on their paper

Annotations vs. Abstracts

Abstracts are the descriptive summaries of article contents found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles that are written by the article author(s) or editor. Their purpose is to inform a reader about the topic, methodology, results and conclusion of the research of the article's author(s).  The summaries are provided so that a researcher can determine whether or not the article may have information of interest to them.  Abstracts do not serve an evaluative purpose.

Annotations found in bibliographies are evaluations of sources cited in a paper.  They describe a work, but also critique the source by examining the author’s point of view, the strengths and weakness of the research or article hypothesis or how well the author presented their research or findings.

How to write an annotated bibliography

The creation of an annotated bibliography is a three-step process. It starts with finding and evaluating sources for your paper. Next is choosing the type or category of annotation, then writing the annotation for each different source. The final step is to choose a citation style for the bibliography.

Types of Annotated Bibliographies

Types of Annotations

Annotations come in different types, the one to use depends on the instructor’s assignment.  Annotations can be descriptive, a summary, or an  evaluation or a combination of descriptive and evaluation.

Descriptive/Summarizing Annotations

There are two kinds of descriptive or summarizing annotations, informative or indicative, depending on what is most important for a reader to learn about a source.  Descriptive/summarizing annotations provide a brief overview or summary of the source. This can include a description of the contents and a statement of the main argument or position of the article as well as a summary of the main points.  It may also describe why the source would be useful for the paper’s topic or question. 

Indicative annotations provide a quick overview of the source, the kinds of questions/topics/issues or main points that are addressed by the source, but do not include information from the argument or position itself.

Informative annotations, like indicative annotations, provide a brief summary of the source.   In addition, an informative annotation identifies the hypothesis, results, and conclusions presented by the source.  When appropriate, they describe the author’s methodology or approach to the topic under discussion.  However, they do not provide information about the sources usefulness to the paper or contains analytical or critical information about the source’s quality. 

Evaluative Annotations (also known as critical or analytical)

Evaluative annotations go beyond just summarizing the source and listing out it’s key points, but also analyzes the content. It looks at the strengths and weaknesses of the article’s argument, the reliability of the presented information as well as any biases of the author. It talks about how the source may be useful to a particular field of study or the person’s research project.

Combination Annotations

Combination annotations “combine” aspects from indicative/informative and evaluative annotations and are the most common category of annotated bibliography.  Combination annotations include one to two sentences summarizing or describing content, in addition to one or more sentences providing an critical evaluation.

Writing Style for Annotations

Annotations typically follow three specific formats depending on how long they are.

  • Phrases – Short phrases providing the information in a quick, concise manner.
  • Sentences – Complete sentences with proper punctuation and grammar, but are short and concise.
  • Paragraphs – Longer annotations break the information out into different paragraphs. This format is very effective for combination annotations.

To sum it up:

An annotation may include the following information:

  • A brief summary or overview of the source content
  • The source’s strengths and weaknesses in presenting the argument or position
  • Its conclusions
  • Why the source is relevant in to field of study of the paper
  • Its relationships to other studies in the field
  • An evaluation of the research methodology (if applicable)
  • Information about the author’s background and potential biases
  • Conclusions about the usefulness of the source for the paper

Critically Analyzing Articles

In order to write an annotation for a paper source, you need to first read and then critically analyze it:

  • Try to identify the topic of the source -- what is it about and is it clearly stated.
  • See if you can identify the purpose of the author(s) in doing the research or writing about the topic. Is it to survey and summarize research on a topic?  Is the author(s) presenting an argument based on previous research, or refuting previously published research?
  • Identify the research methods used and try to identify whether they appear to be suitable or not for the stated purpose of the research.  
  • Was the research reported in a consistent or clear manner?  Or, was the author's argument/position presented in a consistent or convincing manner? Did the author(s) fail to acknowledge and explain any limitations?
  • Was the logic of the research/argument claims properly supported with convincing evidence/analysis/data? Did you spot any fallacies?
  • Check whether the author(s) refers to other research and if similar studies have been done. 
  • If illustrations or charts are used, are they effective in presenting information?
  • Analyze the sources that were used by the author(s). Did the author(s) miss any important studies they should have considered?
  • Your opinion of the source -- do you agree with or are convinced of the findings?  
  • Your estimation of the source’s contribution to knowledge and its implications or applications to the field of study.

Worksheet for Taking Notes for Critical Analysis of Sources/Articles

Additional Resources:

Hofmann, B., Magelssen, M. In pursuit of goodness in bioethics: analysis of an exemplary article. BMC Med Ethics 19, 60 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12910-018-0299-9

Jansen, M., & Ellerton, P. (2018). How to read an ethics paper. Journal of Medical Ethics, 44(12), 810-813.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/medethics-2018-104997

Research & Learning Services, Olin Library, Cornell University Library  Critically Analyzing Information Sources: Critical Appraisal and Analysis

Formatting An Annotated Bibliography

How do I format my annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography entry consists of two components: the Citation and the Annotation.

The citation should be formatted in the bibliographic style that your instructor has requested for the paper. Some common citation styles include APA, MLA, and Chicago. For more information on citation styles, see Writing Guides, Style Manuals and the Publication Process in the Biological & Health Sciences .

Many databases (e.g., PubMed, Academic Search Premier, Library Search on library homepage, and Google Scholar) offer the option of creating your references in various citation styles. 

Look for the "cite" link -- see examples for the following resources:

University of Minnesota Library Search

Library Search Citation and List

Google Scholar

Google Scholar Citation List

Sample Annotated Bibliography Entries

An example of an Evaluative Annotation , APA style (7th ed). (sample from University Libraries, University of Nevada ).

APA does not have specific formatting rules for annotations, just for the citation and bibliography.

Maak, T. (2007). Responsible leadership, stakeholder engagement, and the emergence of social capital. Journal of Business Ethics, 74, 329-343.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-007-9510-5

This article focuses on the role of social capital in responsible leadership. It looks at both the social networks that a leader builds within an organization, and the links that a leader creates with external stakeholders. Maak’s main aim with this article seems to be to persuade people of the importance of continued research into the abilities that a leader requires and how they can be acquired. The focus on the world of multinational business means that for readers outside this world many of the conclusions seem rather obvious (be part of the solution not part of the problem). In spite of this, the article provides useful background information on the topic of responsible leadership and definitions of social capital which are relevant to an analysis of a public servant.

An example of an Evaluative Annotation , MLA Style (10th ed), (sample from Columbia College, Vancouver, Canada )

MLA style requires double-spacing (not shown here) and paragraph indentations.

London, Herbert. “Five Myths of the Television Age.” Television Quarterly, vol. 10, no. 1, Mar. 1982, pp. 81-69.

     Herbert London, the Dean of Journalism at New York University and author of several books and articles, explains how television contradicts five commonly believed ideas. He uses specific examples of events seen on television, such as the assassination of John Kennedy, to illustrate his points. His examples have been selected to contradict such truisms as: “seeing is believing”; “a picture is worth a thousand words”; and “satisfaction is its own reward.” London uses logical arguments to support his ideas which are his personal opinion. He does not refer to any previous works on the topic. London’s style and vocabulary would make the article of interest to any reader. The article clearly illustrates London’s points, but does not explore their implications leaving the reader with many unanswered questions.

Additional Resources

University Libraries Tutorial --  Tutorial: What are citations?  Completing this tutorial you will:

  • Understand what citations are
  • Recognize why they are important
  • Create and use citations in your papers and other scholarly work

University of Minnesota Resources

Beatty, L., & Cochran, C. (2020). Writing the annotated bibliography : A guide for students & researchers . New York, NY: Routledge. [ebook] 

Efron, S., Ravid, R., & ProQuest. (2019). Writing the literature review : A practical guide . New York: The Guilford Press. [ebook -- see Chapter 6 on Evaluating Research Articles] 

Center for Writing: Student Writing Support

  • Critical reading strategies
  • Common Writing Projects (includes resources for literature reviews & analyzing research articles)

Resources from Other Libraries

Annotated Bibliographies (The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Writing An Annotated Bibliography (University of Toronto)

Annotated Bibliographies (Purdue Writing Lab, Purdue University)

Annotated Bibliography (UNSW Sydney)

What is an annotated bibliography? (Santiago Canyon College Library): Oct 17, 2017. 3:47 min.

Writing an annotated bibliography (EasyBib.com) Oct 22, 2020. 4:53 min.

Creating an annotated bibliography (Laurier University Library, Waterloo, Ontario)/ Apr 3, 2019, 3:32 min.

How to create an annotated bibliography: MLA (JamesTheDLC) Oct 23, 2019. 3:03 min.

Citing Sources

Introduction

Citations are brief notations in the body of a research paper that point to a source in the bibliography or references cited section.

If your paper quotes, paraphrases, summarizes the work of someone else, you need to use citations.

Citation style guides such as APA, Chicago and MLA provide detailed instructions on how citations and bibliographies should be formatted.

Health Sciences Research Toolkit

Resources, tips, and guidelines to help you through the research process., finding information.

Library Research Checklist Helpful hints for starting a library research project.

Search Strategy Checklist and Tips Helpful tips on how to develop a literature search strategy.

Boolean Operators: A Cheat Sheet Boolean logic (named after mathematician George Boole) is a system of logic to designed to yield optimal search results. The Boolean operators, AND, OR, and NOT, help you construct a logical search. Boolean operators act on sets -- groups of records containing a particular word or concept.

Literature Searching Overview and tips on how to conduct a literature search.

Health Statistics and Data Sources Health related statistics and data sources are increasingly available on the Internet. They can be found already neatly packaged, or as raw data sets. The most reliable data comes from governmental sources or health-care professional organizations.

Evaluating Information

Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources in the Health Sciences Understand what are considered primary, secondary and tertiary sources.

Scholarly vs Popular Journals/Magazines How to determine what are scholarly journals vs trade or popular magazines.

Identifying Peer-Reviewed Journals A “peer-reviewed” or “refereed” journal is one in which the articles it contains have been examined by people with credentials in the article’s field of study before it is published.

Evaluating Web  Resources When searching for information on the Internet, it is important to be aware of the quality of the information being presented to you. Keep in mind that anyone can host a web site. To be sure that the information you are looking at is credible and of value.

Conducting Research Through An Anti-Racism Lens This guide is for students, staff, and faculty who are incorporating an anti-racist lens at all stages of the research life cycle.

Understanding Research Study Designs Covers case studies, randomized control trials, systematic reviews and meta-analysis.

Qualitative Studies Overview of what is a qualitative study and how to recognize, find and critically appraise.

Writing and Publishing

Citing Sources Citations are brief notations in the body of a research paper that point to a source in the bibliography or references cited section.

Structure of a Research Paper Reports of research studies usually follow the IMRAD format. IMRAD (Introduction, Methods, Results, [and] Discussion) is a mnemonic for the major components of a scientific paper. These elements are included in the overall structure of a research paper.

Top Reasons for Non-Acceptance of Scientific Articles Avoid these mistakes when preparing an article for publication.

Annotated Bibliographies Guide on how to create an annotated bibliography.

Writing guides, Style Manuals and the Publication Process in the Biological and Health Sciences Style manuals, citation guides as well as information on public access policies, copyright and plagiarism.

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APA Style & Citation 7th edition

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Annotated Bibliography

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Information on Annotated Bibliographies can be found in Section 9.51 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.)

  • Title page, page numbers, font style and size, etc. See Format basics
  • Alphabetical with hanging indents etc. See Citations: references
  • The annotation - the notes you have about the source - appear in a new paragraph below its reference entry, indented 0.5 inches from the left margin
  • Annotated bibliography example To use as a template, open the document with Word, replace the text with your own but keep the formatting intact.
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How to Write an Annotated Bibliography - MLA Style

What is an annotation, how is an annotation different from an abstract, what is an annotated bibliography, types of annotated bibliographies, descriptive or informative, analytical or critical, to get started.

An annotation is more than just a brief summary of an article, book, website, or other type of publication. An annotation should give enough information to make a reader decide whether to read the complete work. In other words, if the reader were exploring the same topic as you, is this material useful and if so, why?

While an abstract also summarizes an article, book, website, or other type of publication, it is purely descriptive. Although annotations can be descriptive, they also include distinctive features about an item. Annotations can be evaluative and critical and the two major types of annotations included here demonstrate the difference.

An annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources (like a reference list). It differs from a straightforward bibliography in that each reference is followed by a paragraph length annotation, usually 100–200 words in length.

Depending on the assignment, an annotated bibliography might have different purposes:

  • Provide a literature review on a particular subject
  • Help to formulate a thesis on a subject
  • Demonstrate the research you have performed on a particular subject
  • Provide examples of major sources of information available on a topic
  • Describe items that other researchers may find of interest on a topic

There are two major types of annotated bibliographies:

A descriptive or informative annotated bibliography describes or summarizes a source as does an abstract; it describes why the source is useful for researching a particular topic or question and its distinctive features. In addition, it describes the author's main arguments and conclusions without evaluating what the author says or concludes.

For example:

Gabbin, Joanne V. "Maya Angelou--The Peoples' Poet Laureate: An Introduction."  Langston Hughes Review , vol. 19, Spring 2005, pp. 3-6.  LION: Literature Online , gateway.proquest.com/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&xri:pqil:res_ver=0.2&res_id=xri:lion&rft_id=xri:lion:ft:criticism:R04012678:0&rft.accountid=14580. This scholarly article is a critical introduction to the works of Maya Angelou, and the criteria surrounding her success as a poet laureate. The author points out Angelou's literary influences, which include William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Douglas Johnson, Langston Hughes, among others. This article also points out that her poetry lacks cultural boundaries, yet her trademark lies in the secular chants, songs, and games of the black vernacular tradition. The author discusses dialect and vernacular rhythms in several of Angelou's poems, and compares several of her works to the racy dialect of Sterling Brown and Langston Hughes. Also discussed is her political cultural voice and her deep understanding of emotion. This article is distinctive in its discussion of the need for a poet laureate to add to an audience's collective memory.

Please pay attention to the last sentence. While it points out distinctive features about the item it does not analyze the author's conclusions.

An analytical or critical annotation not only summarizes the material, it analyzes what is being said. It examines the strengths and weaknesses of what is presented as well as describing the applicability of the author's conclusions to the research being conducted.

Analytical or critical annotations will most likely be required when writing for a college-level course.

Gabbin, Joanne V. "Maya Angelou--The Peoples' Poet Laureate: An Introduction."  Langston Hughes Review , vol. 19, Spring 2005, pp. 3-6.  LION: Literature Online , gateway.proquest.com/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&xri:pqil:res_ver=0.2&res_id=xri:lion&rft_id=xri:lion:ft:criticism:R04012678:0&rft.accountid=14580. This scholarly article is a critical introduction to the works of Maya Angelou, and the criteria surrounding her success as a poet laureate. The author points out Angelou's literary influences, that include William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Douglas Johnson, Langston Hughes, among others. This article also points out that her poetry lacks cultural boundaries, yet her trademark lies in the secular chants, songs, and games of the black vernacular tradition. The author discusses dialect and vernacular rhythms in several of Angelou's poems, and compares several of her works to the racy dialect of Sterling Brown and Langston Hughes. Also discussed is her political cultural voice and her deep understanding of emotion. This article is a good resource for those wanting to explore criteria related to the achievement of the award of poet laureate and how Angelou meets the criteria. This article begins to explore the poet's works and suggests her ability to add to an audience's collective memory. The author is a professor of English at James Madison University and has authored a book on Sterling Brown and numerous critical essays.

Please pay attention to the last three sentences. They give information about the author and critique the author's research.

To write an annotated bibliography here are the steps:

  • Choose your sources -  Before writing your annotated bibliography, you must choose your sources. This involves doing research much like for any other project. Locate records to materials that may apply to your topic.
  • Review the items -  Then review the actual items and choose those that provide a wide variety of perspectives on your topic. Article abstracts are helpful in this process.
  • The purpose of the work
  • A summary of its content
  • Information about the author(s)
  • For what type of audience the work is written
  • Its relevance to the topic
  • Any special or unique features about the material
  • Research methodology
  • The strengths, weaknesses or biases in the material

Annotated bibliographies are arranged alphabetically by the first author's last name.

Please see the  MLA Examples Page  for more information on citing in MLA style.

  • Last Updated: Aug 8, 2023 1:53 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.umgc.edu/annotated-bibliography-mla

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Annotated Bibliography Samples

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This handout provides information about annotated bibliographies in MLA, APA, and CMS.

Below you will find sample annotations from annotated bibliographies, each with a different research project. Remember that the annotations you include in your own bibliography should reflect your research project and/or the guidelines of your assignment.

As mentioned elsewhere in this resource, depending on the purpose of your bibliography, some annotations may summarize, some may assess or evaluate a source, and some may reflect on the source’s possible uses for the project at hand. Some annotations may address all three of these steps. Consider the purpose of your annotated bibliography and/or your instructor’s directions when deciding how much information to include in your annotations.

Please keep in mind that all your text, including the write-up beneath the citation, must be indented so that the author's last name is the only text that is flush left.

Sample MLA Annotation

Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life . Anchor Books, 1995.

Lamott's book offers honest advice on the nature of a writing life, complete with its insecurities and failures. Taking a humorous approach to the realities of being a writer, the chapters in Lamott's book are wry and anecdotal and offer advice on everything from plot development to jealousy, from perfectionism to struggling with one's own internal critic.

In the process, Lamott includes writing exercises designed to be both productive and fun. Lamott offers sane advice for those struggling with the anxieties of writing, but her main project seems to be offering the reader a reality check regarding writing, publishing, and struggling with one's own imperfect humanity in the process. Rather than a practical handbook to producing and/or publishing, this text is indispensable because of its honest perspective, its down-to-earth humor, and its encouraging approach.

Chapters in this text could easily be included in the curriculum for a writing class. Several of the chapters in Part 1 address the writing process and would serve to generate discussion on students' own drafting and revising processes. Some of the writing exercises would also be appropriate for generating classroom writing exercises. Students should find Lamott's style both engaging and enjoyable.

In the sample annotation above, the writer includes three paragraphs: a summary, an evaluation of the text, and a reflection on its applicability to his/her own research, respectively.

For information on formatting MLA citations, see our MLA 9th Edition (2021) Formatting and Style Guide .

Sample APA Annotation

Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America . Henry Holt and Company.

In this book of nonfiction based on the journalist's experiential research, Ehrenreich attempts to ascertain whether it is currently possible for an individual to live on a minimum-wage in America. Taking jobs as a waitress, a maid in a cleaning service, and a Walmart sales employee, the author summarizes and reflects on her work, her relationships with fellow workers, and her financial struggles in each situation.

An experienced journalist, Ehrenreich is aware of the limitations of her experiment and the ethical implications of her experiential research tactics and reflects on these issues in the text. The author is forthcoming about her methods and supplements her experiences with scholarly research on her places of employment, the economy, and the rising cost of living in America. Ehrenreich’s project is timely, descriptive, and well-researched.

The annotation above both summarizes and assesses the book in the citation. The first paragraph provides a brief summary of the author's project in the book, covering the main points of the work. The second paragraph points out the project’s strengths and evaluates its methods and presentation. This particular annotation does not reflect on the source’s potential importance or usefulness for this person’s own research.

For information on formatting APA citations, see our APA Formatting and Style Guide .

Sample Chicago Manual of Style Annotation

Davidson, Hilda Ellis. Roles of the Northern Goddess . London: Routledge, 1998.

Davidson's book provides a thorough examination of the major roles filled by the numerous pagan goddesses of Northern Europe in everyday life, including their roles in hunting, agriculture, domestic arts like weaving, the household, and death. The author discusses relevant archaeological evidence, patterns of symbol and ritual, and previous research. The book includes a number of black and white photographs of relevant artifacts.

This annotation includes only one paragraph, a summary of the book. It provides a concise description of the project and the book's project and its major features.

For information on formatting Chicago Style citations, see our Chicago Manual of Style resources.

Home / Guides / Citation Guides / Citation Basics / Annotated Bibliography Format & Examples

Annotated Bibliography Format & Examples

A complete guide to the mla & apa annotated bibliography.

If you’ve just received an assignment that requires an MLA or APA annotated bibliography, you may be wondering where to start. This guide will help answer all of your questions and includes step-by-step instructions on how to do an annotated bibliography in MLA style, as well as an APA annotated bibliography. You will also find sample annotated bibliographies, real-life examples, and opportunities to practice what you have learned.

The MLA ( Modern Language Association ) and APA (American Psychological Association) are not associated with this guide. All of the information provided here, however, offers direction for students and researchers who use these citation styles in their work.

The structures and annotated bibliography templates on this page were created by the in-house librarians at EasyBib.com.

If you’re simply looking for an example of an annotated bibliography (both in MLA format and APA format), scroll down toward the bottom of the page. We’ve included links to visuals for those of you who need help with the structure and styling of an annotated bibliography. If you’re looking for a variety of annotated bibliography topics, and you’re truly searching for the answer to, “What is an annotated bibliography?” then continue reading!

Here’s a run-through of everything this page includes:

Table of contents

What is an annotated bibliography, annotations vs. abstract, why include annotations.

  • Step 1: Analyze your sources

Step 2: Write the descriptions

  • Step 3a: Formatting an MLA style annotated bibliography
  • Step 3b: Formatting an APA style annotated bibliography

Annotated Bibliography Templates

Using the easybib annotation tool.

A bibliography is a complete list of the sources that were used to complete a research paper or project.

Depending on the style guide you follow, you may also see this called a Works Cited (also called an MLA bibliography) or Reference List (APA format). Each listed source, or citation , shares information about the author, title, publishing year, and other details that serve to credit the original authors whose work informed your research. These details also help other students and researchers find and read the source materials.

When your research is related to a scholastic assignment, you should always verify your instructor’s requirements for the types and number of sources to include, as well as the style you should adhere to when formatting your paper and bibliography.

An MLA annotated bibliography and an APA format annotated bibliography are bibliographies that include a concise explanation, or annotation , of each listed source. Depending on the assignment, this annotation may be solely descriptive, or analytical.

An abstract and annotation should not be confused; they differ in both their substance as well as their placement in a paper.

Annotations: 

  • Usually found in bibliographies at the end of a paper
  • Are subjective
  • Purpose is to summarize and evaluate . It should briefly communicate the work’s main point, but also discuss the background of the author or study, and the strengths/weaknesses of the work.

Abstracts: 

  • Usually found in journal databases or the beginning of a paper
  • Are objective
  • Purpose is to summarize . It should provide a short overview of the article and communicate the main points and themes.

If you would like to learn more , this link further explores the difference between an abstract and an annotation.

This resource provides additional information on how to write a bibliography with annotations in other formats. You can also take advantage of the plagiarism checker and bibliography tools that come with EasyBib Plus to help you create your reference lists.

Before you learn how to make an annotated bibliography, you may be wondering why you need to.

Sometimes instructors want you to create and include annotations in your bibliography, either as part of an assignment or as an assignment unto itself. Understanding the purpose of this approach to your reference list can help to ensure that you gain all of the benefits that the annotated bibliography process provides.

As a student, this method will help you develop or hone your research skills, providing you with practice not only in locating sources but also in analyzing and evaluating them for relevance and quality.

Your instructor will gain insight into your research abilities, as well, allowing them to assess your work more thoroughly. If you plan to publish your research, this comprehensive approach to detailing your sources will provide readers and other researchers with a substantial directory of resources to evaluate for their own work.

Whether you’re publishing or submitting your annotated bibliography, make sure your spelling and wording is correct! If you need to brush up on any parts of speech topics, check out our interjection , determiner , and adverb pages!

Step 1: Analyze your sources 

Each annotation should be a summarization or analysis of your source. If you have been tasked with writing annotations as part of a research paper or project, begin to create both the citation and notes on the source while you identify and analyze your sources.

Not only will this approach help you to hone your research skills and identify sources that are relevant and useful for your topic, but you will also save time. When done in this manner, both your citations and annotations will be nearly complete before you begin to write the body of your paper.

Analyzing your potential sources requires a two-pronged approach that first evaluates the author, publication, and date, and then examines the content.

When conducting your initial assessment of the source, consider some of the following questions to guide your appraisal:

  • What qualifies the author to write on this subject?
  • Is the author affiliated with a reputable institution in this field?
  • Is the author credentialed or otherwise considered an expert in this field?
  • Is this source current?
  • Is this the most recent edition?
  • Is the publisher reputable?
  • Is the journal reputable?

Once your primary evaluation is complete, you will move on the assessing the content itself. Consider some of these elements as you review each source:

  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the author presenting her opinion or interpretation as the truth, or stating facts?
  • What supporting evidence does the author provide?
  • Did the author perform the research, or curate and present the research of others?
  • If the author used the research of others, are the sources the author cites credible?
  • Are there errors or omissions of fact?
  • Is the author writing objectively and without bias?

Also, consider the value each source provides to you:

  • Is the information helpful for your particular assignment?
  • Does it help answer your research question(s)?
  • Is this source different from your other sources, or does it repeat information you already have?
  • Is the source providing you with a different perspective on your topic, or changing your beliefs or thinking about your subject?

To make it easier for you to create your reference page, write your notes in the format you will be using when you construct this part of the assignment (for instance, as short phrases or complete sentences). Once you have identified all of the sources you wish to include, you will merely need to insert what you have already written on the page and write your citation, which is explained in the next section.

Click here for additional information and a supplementary annotated bibliography sample. For an MLA bibliography example (with annotations),  check out our visual example of an MLA annotated bibliography .

An annotated bibliography entry may be written either as short phrases or complete sentences. Your instructor will advise you of which approach you are required to take.

Annotations should include either:

  • The main points from the source, as well as the topics covered, the approach used, and any findings.
  • Or your critical evaluation.
  • A standard annotation is approximately one paragraph.
  • Take care not to include any unnecessary details, as the goal is to summarize each source as succinctly as possible and, in some cases, evaluate them.
  • Your field of study or instructor will determine what format your annotated bibliography will use. In this guide, you’ll find examples of an MLA and an APA annotated bibliography.

Here is an annotated bibliography example MLA annotation for the book The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase by UK author and blogger Mark Forsyth:

The author, Mark Forsyth, examines the rhetorical devices used in the English language, analyzing the patterns and formats that create memorable quotes. He traces the history of rhetoric to the Ancient Greeks, and provides an abridged timeline, following their use and evolution through to modern day. The author also explores the broader subject of persuasion and maps out the role that the figures of rhetoric play in it. In all, he examines over thirty devices, dissecting notable passages and phrases from pop music, the plays of William Shakespeare, the Bible, and more to explore the figures of rhetoric at work within each of them. Thorough definitions accompany this examination of structure to demonstrate how these formulas have been used to generate famously memorable expressions as well as how to reproduce their effects.

Notice how the annotated bibliography MLA entry above is descriptive enough so the reader has an idea of what the source is about with just a single paragraph. For more information on annotations, check out this informative site . If you’re looking to strengthen your writing in general, reading these grammar guides could be a good start.

For guidance on creating entries in MLA format , APA format , and more styles , check out the EasyBib library of resources or try the EasyBib annotation tool—we talk about it below!

Step 3a: MLA annotated bibliography format

The MLA Style Center and the current edition of the MLA Handbook provide the following guidance for formatting an MLA annotated bibliography:

  • Title your reference page as “Annotated Bibliography” or “Annotated List of Works Cited.”
  • Place each annotation after its reference.
  • Annotations should typically not exceed a single paragraph.
  • Annotations should be indented one inch from the start of your citation.
  • Double-space all text on the page.
  • 1-inch margins around the page.

Sources in an annotated bibliography can be organized alphabetically by the first word in each reference (as with a normal Works Cited page), by publication date, or by subject.

For a visual example of an annotated bibliography, as well as specific annotation examples, visit the MLA annotated bibliography guide .

MLA annotated bibliography

If you are required to share your references in a manner other than in MLA bibliography format, the EasyBib style guides can help you with many common styles. While you’re at it, check out their conjunction , preposition , and pronoun pages to help keep your paper in mint condition!

Step 3b: APA annotated bibliography format

The American Psychological Association states that your instructor should set the guidelines for your annotated bibliography, but asks that the bibliography be formatted according to their standard reference page rules (see Section 9.51 of the Publication Manual ). If your teacher has requested an APA formatted annotated bibliography, first ask them for guidelines. Otherwise, here are some quick rules for you to follow:

  • Double space all text on the page.  
  • Title your page “Annotated Bibliogra phy”. Bold and center the title.  
  • Organize references alphabetically by the first word of each reference.  
  • Only the first line of a ref erence is flush with the left margin. Any other lines after the first line should be indented ½ inch from the left.  
  • Add annotations on the next line after their paired reference.   
  • Fully indent annotations by a ½ inch from the left.  
  • Keep annotations short. No more than one paragraph.  

For examples of a  properly formatted APA annotation, visit this guide on APA annotated bibliographies .  

In comparison to the sample annotated bibliography MLA, the APA sample formats its page elements and references differently.

annotated bibliography referencing style

Students and researchers who type their research notes can save time by using an annotated bibliography template in MLA format while reviewing and analyzing sources. By adding the relevant information into a pre-formatted template, you’ll create a resource that helps you when you begin writing your paper in addition to saving time by completing your references and summaries alongside your research.

Students who prefer to take notes by hand can employ a modified version of this approach, with an additional step required to transfer your handwritten and formatted references from your notebook to populate your reference page.

Bibliography Template for MLA

To create an annotated bibliography MLA template, copy the following details into the program in which you will take notes or hand write it on the top margin of a page in your notebook. For each source, use this template to guide you as you identify the necessary details and insert them into your notes:

  • Author (Last name, First name).
  • Title of source.
  • Title of the container ,
  • Other contributors (names and roles),
  • Publication Date,
  • Location of the source (such as URL or page range).
  • Summary or Analysis.

The MLA 9 model for MLA works cited entries offers a single format for all source type, and a great deal of flexibility to include the information most relevant to your topic and omit that which isn’t.

Hopefully our visual annotated bibliography example in MLA above has helped. If you still have lingering questions, visit the MLA Style Center online ( linked here ). Also, here’s a guide if you’re looking for more on the related topic of MLA in-text & parenthetical citations .

Bibliography Template for APA

Students and researchers who are still asking themselves how to piece together an annotated bibliography, or still questioning what is an annotated bibliography, could probably benefit from a template, similar to the one above. This one, however, is for those of you who are tasked with creating an annotated bibliography in the style created by the American Psychological Association.

The tricky thing about this specific style though, is that every reference is styled differently. Books, websites, journal articles, newspaper articles, and many others each have their own reference structure.

For most sources though, you should look for the following, basic information:

  • Type of source
  • Author (last name, first name)
  • Title of source/article/web page, etc.
  • Title of where source was found (e.g., database name, website name, etc.)
  • Other contributors (names and roles)
  • Location of the source (such as URL, DOI, or page range)
  • Summary or Analysis

We understand it can get tricky, and it’s very different from the Modern Language Association’s structure for references. Take a moment to either use the other handy guides on EasyBib.com or use our automatic generator to form your references in just a few clicks. Our tools help take the pain away from having to rack your brain to form references properly. Capitals, lowercase letters, italics, quotation marks, punctuation in the appropriate places, it can all be quite overwhelming. Do yourself a favor, and use the EasyBib automatic citation generator.

Even though there are a lot of different variations, here’s a commonly used structure for sources:

Author’s Last Name, First initial, Middle initial. (Year the source was published). Title of the source . Retrieved from (insert the website address here)

Underneath the reference, include your summary or analysis paragraph.

Hopefully, this page helped answer all of your “What is an annotated bibliography?” questions. If you’re seeking out an annotated bibliography generator, follow the steps above the annotated bibliography examples.

Looking for additional help with other related topics? Don’t forget about the various beneficial guides on EasyBib.com! Our APA in-text citation guide and our APA parenthetical citation guide are two of our most popular pages. Learn the ins and outs of referencing your work in the body of your paper with our thorough, complete, and reader-friendly guides.

If you are creating a bibliography in MLA format, the EasyBib MLA bibliography generator can help save you time formatting your citations and annotations correctly. You can create entries for websites, books, videos, databases, dictionary articles, and many other types of sources.

In addition to forming the citations, you can also enter your annotation text to produce the complete entry for each source. The process for this is simple. You can follow along below to practice creating one:

  • First, select your source type from among the 50+ available options. For this example, we will use the acting career of Keanu Reeves as our research topic and use the movie Point Break from 1991 as our first source. To cite this film, you would select the option for “Film/Online Video.” As you follow along, pick the option that is suitable for your source if you are using a different example.
  • Enter the title of your source or, if you are citing a website, you may enter the URL. (Now would be a great time to peek at how to cite websites in MLA ). After you enter the title or URL for your reference, the EasyBib citation tool will scan for titles that match it and provide you with a list of results. Select “Cite this” next to the listing that matches your source.
  • You will see a citation form. This gives you the option to add additional relevant or necessary information. For our sample topic, we will specifically cite Keanu Reeves as the performer and Kathryn Bigelow as the director.
  • After entering any additional details, you have the option to expand your entry and include an annotation. To do so, select “Add annotation” at the bottom of the page, and a text box will open up.

Then, type your summary or analysis into the text box. If you took notes during the research stage using the format of your paper, this might be as simple as copying and pasting your already written summary or critique. Once you have entered all of the necessary information, select “Create citation” to generate the complete entry. You can then copy and paste this into your MLA bibliography.

Here’s what it’ll look like:

Point Break . Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, performance by Keanu Reeves, 20th Century Fox, 1991.

Reeves’ role as rookie FBI Agent Johnny Utah in Point Break marks the turning point in his Hollywood film career. While he’d risen to fame due to the success of the Bill and Ted franchise, his status today as an action star began when Point Break provided him with the material to establish himself as capable of portraying more than the lovable but unserious characters of his previous starring roles. In a parallel arc, director Kathryn Bigelow’s career also sees a shift beginning with Point Break , establishing her within the traditional action genre as a serious director capable of creating high-action and visually memorable films. While Point Break leaves plenty to be desired in terms of dialogue, it afforded Bigelow and Reeves the opportunities to showcase themselves and their talent in new ways that still echo in their work today.

  • Works Cited

Harner, James L.  On Compiling an Annotated Bibliography . 2nd ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2000.

MLA Handbook . 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . 7th ed., American Psychological Association, 2020.

“What Guidance Should I Give My Students for Preparing an Annotated Bibliography?” The MLA Style Center , The Modern Language Association, 4 Nov. 2016, style.mla.org/annotated-bibliographies/.

Visit our EasyBib Twitter feed to discover more citing tips, fun grammar facts, and the latest product updates.

Published October 18, 2015. Updated July 25, 2021.

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau. Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and is the in-house librarian at EasyBib.com. Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing.

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An annotated bibliography is a list containing complete information of sources, such as journals, books, and reports, cited in the text. In addition, it provides a brief description of each source in about 100–150 words. The annotation can explain the topics covered in the source or evaluate the source. The main objective of giving the annotation is to provide the reader the importance, accuracy, and value of the source.

An example of an annotated bibliography in APA style is given below.

Lim, L. (2014). Ideology, rationality and reproduction in education: A critical discourse analysis. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 35 (1), 61–76. https://doi:10.1080/01596306.2012.739467

Lim (2014) focuses on issues of power and ideology dominant in curricular discourses of rationality to study a discourse analysis of the goals of one of the most important curricula in the teaching of thinking. He proves that political and class commitments are reproduced in the forms of thinking that are valued in societies. Through his research, Lim asserts that such curricula engage in making our understanding of what thinking and rationality are. It must facilitate the social reproduction of a specific proportion of the middle class.

If you want to evaluate or provide a description of a source you are citing, you can create an annotated bibliography. Write your annotation in 100–150 words and add it below the source for which you are providing your annotation. Remember, your annotation should provide the reader the importance, accuracy, and value of the source. Below are the guidelines and rules to be followed while writing an annotated bibliography for APA style:

Order your reference entries in alphabetical order, similar to how you would order entries in the reference list.

If you want to add an annotation to an entry, add it as a fresh paragraph below the reference entry. The annotation is indented 0.5 inches from the left margin. However, the first line of the annotation is not indented.

To format the annotated bibliography, follow the recommendations given below:

Set the left, right, top, and bottom margins to 1 inch.

Give double-line spacing.

Title the page “Annotated Bibliography.” Set it in bold.

The title should be aligned to the center of the page.

As you format reference entries, left-align all references in the annotated bibliography section. If any entry runs over more than a line, indent the subsequent lines 0.5 inch from the left margin.

Arrange all reference entries alphabetically according to the surname of the authors.

Provide your annotations below the reference entry for which you want to give your annotation. Indent annotations 0.5 inches from the left margin.

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APA 7th Edition Style Guide: Annotated Bibliography

  • About In-text Citations
  • In-Text Examples
  • What to Include
  • Volume/Issue
  • Bracketed Descriptions
  • URLs and DOIs
  • Book with Editor(s)
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Below is an example of an annotated bibliography. The annotated bibliography allows your professor to see the sources you will use in your final research paper. It shows that you have planned ahead by conducting research and gave thought to the information you will need to write a complete research paper. The annotations may summarize or evaluate the sources used. The references need to follow the APA rules for citations. The title page of your annotated bibliography follows the same rules as an APA research paper.

  • Example APA Annotated Bibliography Remember, always follow your professor's instructions when creating an annotated bibliography.
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What is an annotated bibliography?

Why write an annotated bibliography, steps to writing an annotated bibliography, print guide.

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An annotated bibliography is a list of references from published sources (e.g. books, journal articles, reports) which are followed by a brief description of the text and an evaluation of its content relative to your assignment. It is usually between 100-200 words per reference, but refer to your lecturer’s assignment brief for guidelines. An annotation can help readers determine the value of each work on the topic and the contribution it might make to their own research.

Active Reading : Annotations make you think carefully about what you are reading. As you are reading the work, you are mentally summing it up for the annotation and thinking about the usefulness of it for your assignment.

Keeping Track : Annotations can form the basis of a research bibliography for a large project, tracking what you've been reading, which sources you’ve found useful and why.

Developing Your Ideas: Annotations can help you focus your own ideas on a subject through critically analysing and articulating your ideas about what others have written about the subject

Surveying the Field : Annotations give an overview of a subject for your reader, showing the range of ideas, viewpoints, what has been "done" on this topic so far and revealing what has not yet been examined in the literature.

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Acknowledgement

The staff of the Library at Mount Saint Vincent University wish to acknowledge and thank Research & Learning Services, Olin Library, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY, USA, for their kind permission to use and adapt their guide:  How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography .

APA Annotated Bibliography Entry

While the APA manual provides detailed instructions for its reference list , it does not contain instructions on how to format the annotations . If you are asked to use the APA format for an annotated bibliography, use the reference list formatting for the bibliographic entries and please confirm with your professor how she or he wishes the annotations to be formatted.

  • The following example uses the APA format for the journal citation. Please consult the appropriate sections of this guide for other formats like books, webpages or online videos.

Sample annotated bibliography entry

Family Structure: An Annotated Bibliography

Waite, L. J., Goldschneider, F. K., & Witsberger, C. (1986). Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional family orientations among young adults. American Sociological Review, 51 (4), 541-554.

The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

Annotations vs. Abstracts

Abstracts are the purely descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles or in periodical indexes. Annotations are descriptive and critical; they expose the author's point of view, clarity and appropriateness of expression, and authority.

The Process

Creating an annotated bibliography calls for the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research.

  • Cite the book, article, or document using the appropriate style.
  • evaluate the authority or background of the author,
  • comment on the intended audience,
  • compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or
  • explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic.  

Critically Appraising the Book, Article, or Document

For guidance in critically appraising and analyzing the sources for your bibliography, see  How to Critically Analyze Information Sources . For information on the author's background and views, contact a librarian for help finding appropriate biographical reference materials and  book review  sources.

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It's a Strategic Tool!

An annotated bibliography is one of the best tools to help you write your essay. It helps you remember the sources you have consulted and is a good starting point for organizing your argument. Annotated bibliographies can fulfill any and all of these functions:

For guidance on how to create your annotated bibliography, check out these resources:

Creating an Annotated Bibliography (Trinity University)

Writing an Annotated Bibliography (University of Toronto)

How to Prepare an Annotate Bibliography (Cornell University)

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An annotated bibliography is a list of information sources in which each source has a brief description explaining the content and significance of the source. These descriptions, called “annotations”, help the reader determine the usefulness of each source and can be a starting point for future research.

Annotated bibliographies often exist as separate documents. They may also be added to other written work but they do not replace the reference list or bibliography required for the purpose of referencing and citing.

What is a bibliography? explains the difference between a reference list or list of works cited, a bibliography or list of works consulted, and an annotated bibliography.

More information

  • Annotated bibliography (Te Taiako Student Learning StudyHub) Summary of how to write an annotated bibliography. Includes samples in APA referencing style. PDF file.
  • What is an annotated bibliography? [video with captions, 5:08 minutes] Excellent introduction to annotated bibliographies. (OWLPurdue, Purdue University)
  • Purdue OWL: Annotated bibliographies Explains how to write an annotated bibliography. (Purdue University)

Your annotated bibliography should have a clearly defined scope and give concise, accurate, information about the information sources included. For the content and structure of your annotated bibliography, consider:

  • Subject scope – An annotated bibliography is usually a list of information sources related to a particular topic. Clearly define your topic or research question.  
  • Literature coverage – Clearly state whether your bibliography is a comprehensive survey of all available literature on the subject, or only a sample. For example, does it include only one type of publication format, such as books, or does it include a variety of publication formats.  
  • Bibliographic entries – Each information source must have a bibliographic entry. Each entry starts with the complete reference details for the source, formatted using a specific referencing style.  
  • Annotations – For each bibliographic entry, the complete reference details are followed by a brief, descriptive, and evaluative, paragraph, called an annotation. Typically an annotation is 100–200 words long.

For writing your annotated bibliography, your School or Programme will have defined a layout and approved a referencing style that you should use. Ask your lecturer or supervisor for details.

Important formatting includes:

  • Order of entries – Your bibliographic entries should be ordered alphabetically by the author of the information source, or by the title if there is no author name. Sometimes you should use an organisation's name as the author name, for example, for web pages where the individual page author is not identified but the website clearly belongs to an organisation. Follow the recommendations of the referencing style.  
  • Referencing style – Format the complete reference details at the beginning of each bibliographic entry to match the referencing style.  
  • Position of annotation – Your annotation may immediately follow the reference details on the same line, or it may be positioned one or two lines below, usually with a paragraph indent. Follow the layout defined by your School or Programme.

Annotations are similar to book reviews but annotations should be shorter, less personal, and less emotional than book reviews. Make sure annotations you write are accurate and concise.

Typically an annotation is one paragraph containing 100–200 words. Ask your lecturer or supervisor to confirm how long your annotations should be.

What should I write?

Each of your annotations should discuss the authority of the author of the information source: their credentials, experience, and qualifications to write about the subject.

Each of your annotations should include descriptive or evaluative statements about the contents of the information source. Most of your annotations will include both descriptive and evaluative statements.

  • Summary of contents, scope, and significance – Is it a broad overview or a focussed aspect of the subject? Is it influenced by a particular theory, perspective, or purpose?
  • Description of main focus, ideas, methods, evidence, arguments, or conclusions.
  • Identification of intended audience.
  • Identification and appraisal of significant features, such as a glossary, colour illustrations, or a good index. Avoid your personal opinions when writing descriptive annotations.  
  • Evaluate accuracy, bias, strengths, and weaknesses of ideas, methods, evidence, arguments, or conclusions.
  • Compare and contrast with content of other similar information sources.
  • Comment on the intended audience – How well does it suit specialist, or general, audiences?
  • Assess research and publication dates – Is it up-to-date? Does it matter?
  • Assess relevance to subject scope. Reflect on its contribution to your annotated bibliography.

How should I write?

  • Write in the third person – Use sentences with he, she, it, they, them, or their. Avoid using I, me, or my.
  • Use verbs (action words) such as argues, asserts, demonstrates, discusses, examines, proves, speculates, suggests.
  • Be concise and specific. Avoid unnecessary words. Avoid long, complex sentences.
  • Sentences do not need to be grammatically complete but they should begin with a capital letter and end with a full stop.
  • Avoid beginning annotations with phrases such as “This book discusses...” or “This paper presents...”.
  • Avoid unnecessary repetition of information explicit in the title.

Below are two sample annotated bibliography entries using the MLA referencing style, with the annotation positioned two lines below with a paragraph indent, and descriptive, or informative, annotations.

Modern Language Association of America. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers . 7th ed. New York: MLA, 2009. Print.

Covers issues such as research and writing, spelling, punctuation, use of numbers and quotations, the format of research papers, and documentation. Guides the researcher and writer through the process of selecting a research topic to submitting the completed manuscript. This revised edition of the Handbook includes an updated and expanded discussion on the use of electronic resources in research and their citation.

London, Herbert. “Five Myths of the Television Age.” Television Quarterly 10.1 (1982): 81–89. Print.

Explains how television contradicts five commonly believed ideas. Uses specific examples of events seen on television, such as the assassination of John Kennedy, to illustrate points. Examples have been selected to contradict such truisms as: “seeing is believing”; “a picture is worth a thousand words”; and “satisfaction is its own reward.” Logical arguments are used to support ideas which reflect the author's opinion. Previous works on the topic are not mentioned.

  • Purdue OWL: Annotated bibliography samples Samples of descriptive and evaluative annotations. Includes MLA, APA, and Chicago referencing styles. (Purdue University)
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The information provided is found in the APA Manual, 7th Ed. Sections 1.10 & 9.51.

Annotated bibliographies consist of reference list entries followed by short descriptions of the work called  annotations.  Instructors generally set requirements, but APA Style guidelines still apply.

For guidance on paper margins , font , and line spacing , see Chapter 2.

When writing the text of your annotations, consult the writing style and grammar guidelines in Chapter 4, the bias-free language guidelines in Chapter 5, and the mechanics of style guidelines in Chapter 6.

It is not necessary to cite the work being annotated in the annotation because the origin of the information is clear through context; however, do include in-text citations (see Chapter 8) if you refer to multiple works within an annotation to clarify the source.

Instructors generally set all other requirements (e.g., number of references, length and focus of each annotation). If there is something left out, format the annotated bibliography as follows:

  • Format and order references in an annotated bibliography in alphabetical order just like the order entries in a reference list (see Sections 9.43 - 9.44).
  • Each annotation should be a new paragraph below its reference entry. Indent the entire annotation 0.5 in. from the left margin, the same as you would a block quotation (see Section 8.27). Do not indent the first line of the annotation.
  • If the annotation spans multiple paragraphs, indent the first line of the second and any subsequent paragraphs an additional 0.5 in. , the same as you would a block quotation with multiple paragraphs.

Annotated bibliographies can also be created with APA’s cloud-based writing and research software called  Academic Writer .

For an example of an annotated bibliography, refer to the Handouts and Guide tab on the APA Home page.

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Creating an Annotated Bibliography in APA Style

Definitions.

A bibliography is a list of source material, cited in whatever citation style you're required to use in a specific course.

An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation.

Put the two together and you have an Annotated Bibliography !

An annotated bibliography is an organizational tool . an annotated bibliography....

  • Is an alphabetical list of all of your source material
  • Includes sources you may or may not use in your research
  • Summarizes each resource so you can remember what it's about
  • Can include any type of resource unless specified in the assignment instructions (For an overview of the types of resources you can find through our library, view our description of resource types on our Evaluating Sources guide .)

Why must you do an Annotated Bibliography?

  • If you're utilizing print resources through the library, you may not be able to renew items. How will you remember what the resource was about if you have to send it back?
  • If you're utilizing electronic resources, nothing online is permanent. How will you find the resource again if it disappears?
  • In larger projects, every resource starts to look the same. An Annotated Bibliography can save you time by reminding you of what you've already found.

What types of resources are used?

An Annotated Bibliography can include any type of resource unless otherwise specified by the assignment. This can include (but is not limited to):

  • Scholarly materials
  • Government documents

Annotated Bibliographies can be a great resource for students before they write other types of assignments, like literature reviews . 

There are TWO PARTS to each entry in an Annotated Bibliography. They are:

  • The citation of the resource , in whatever citation style you're required to use.
  • The annotation describing the contents of the resource and how it may or may not contribute to your research.

Be sure to carefully read over the assignment instructions when you're asked to compose an Annotated Bibliography, and reach out to your professor with any questions!

Citation Help

Consult your course style guide to confirm the accuracy of your citation. 

You can also...

  • View our guide for  APA Style Help .
  • Consult resources like Academic Writer  or  Grammarly .

Skimming Sources

Focus on key areas of a text to learn enough so that you can write a strong annotation. This includes:

  • Abstracts, prefaces, and summaries
  • Paragraph headings
  • Charts/graphs/images and their captions
  • Introduction paragraph(s)
  • Conclusion paragraph(s)
  • Sources/References/Bibliography

These areas will provide you with enough information to determine the topic, arguments, and conclusions drawn from any research presented.

Writing Annotations

A strong annotation will have three main parts:

Length requirements can vary from a few sentences to a single paragraph or a full page. Be sure to verify length requirements with your professor and/or through the assignment instructions.

When writing the summary, ask yourself:

  • What topics are covered in the resource?
  • What are the main arguments?
  • What are the main conclusions drawn from the resource?

When writing the assessment, ask yourself:

  • Is the source useful?
  • How does it compare to your other resources?
  • Is there bias present?
  • Is the source reliable?

Our guide for Evaluating Your Sources can help you assess your research material.

When writing the reflection, ask yourself:

  • How does the source fit into your research?
  • How might the source support your argument?
  • Did the source change your mind about the topic?

Sample APA Style citation with annotation:

Bell, C., & Holder, M. (2019, January/February). The Interrelationship between Race, Social Norms, and Dietary Behaviors among College-attending

Women. American Journal of Health Behavior , 43 (1), 23-36.

This article examines a study conducted to compare racial identity and dietary habits of women on college campuses. The findings of the

study found that women with perceived differences and social/family norms were more likely to develop unhealthy dietary habits in college,

most specifically related to fruit and vegetable consumption. This resource is useful because it examines self-perception of race and how that

can impact behavior in ways that influence one's health in the future.

View a full example in APA Style:

  • Annotated Bibliography Example- APA Style A full Annotated Bibliography formatted in APA Style. Users, please verify that formatting matches your course style guide's requirements.
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An annotated bibliography is a list of cited sources from books, articles, documents, or websites. Some annotated bibliography summarize a source and some evaluate or assess a source. Your professor will specify the type and citation style of annotated bibliography they would like.

Sample of an Annotated Bibliography

The following example uses APA style ( Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 6th edition, 2010) for the journal citation:

Waite, L. J., Goldschneider, F. K., & Witsberger, C. (1986). Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional family orientations among young adults.  American Sociological Review,   51 , 541-554. The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.

This example uses MLA style ( MLA Handbook , 8th edition, 2016) for the journal citation:

Waite, Linda J., et al. "Nonfamily Living and the Erosion of Traditional Family Orientations Among Young Adults."  American Sociological Review,  vol. 51, no. 4, 1986, pp. 541-554. The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.

The content in this box was created by 

Olin Library Reference Research & Learning Services Cornell University Library Ithaca, NY, USA

And is used with permission.

An abstract is a descriptive summary of the content offered of a main ideas offered of a book, article, document, or other work. An annotation is often a descriptive and critical summary of the main ideas added after a citation of the analyzed source. The annotation may describe the author's view point and evaluates the source's authority, clarity, and value.

Ask your professor which citation style is preferred for the annotated bibliography. Research guides for APA, MLA, and Chicago citation styles are noted below.

  • APA Style Guide
  • Chicago / Turabian Style
  • Purdue OWL - Annotated bibliographies Annotated bibliography information from the Purdue Online Writing Lab (Purdue OWL)

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  • Purdue OWL Annotated Bibliographies An explanation of annotated bibliographies from Purdue OWL, including examples in MLA, APA, and CSE styles.

What is an annotated bibliography? 

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to sources, such as books and articles. Each citation is followed by an annotation, a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph, about 150 words long, that analyzes the source. An annotated bibliography usually looks like any other bibliography with alphabetized citations of sources, except that here each source is followed by an explanatory paragraph. This work can form the basis of a literature review later in the writing process. The purpose of the annotation is to inform on the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

What isn't an annotated bibliography? 

An annotation is not only a summary of the source in question. It should be a short but critical analysis as to why and how the source fits into the larger research question. An abstract functions as a summary, an annotation should be contextual to the specific topic at hand. It should be both descriptive and evaluative. 

Types of annotations: 

  • Descriptive: states the topic of the source only
  • Evaluative: evaluates the source, which may include placing the work in context of other research or evaluating its usefulness. This is the type expected for most research assignments. 
  • Summary: summarizes the source but does not take a stance or make an argument about the source.

What about formatting?

Most of the major citation styles call for a  hanging first line  on annotated bibliographies. This means the first line of the citation will align with the left margin of the page, and all subsequent lines of the citation and annotation will indent to the right.

Example of an Annotated Citation using the Ecology Journal Style

Patra, A., Park, T., Kim, M. and Yu, Z. (2017). Rumen methanogens and mitigation of methane emission by anti-methanogenic compounds and substances.   J. Anim. Sci. Biotechnol.   8 , 13. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40104-017-0145-9

This study reviews some of the work through 2017 identifying ruminal methanogens and the in vivo and in vitro effects of anti-methanogenic compounds. Of specific interest is the summary of evidence suggesting that archaea make up only ~10% of the ruminal microbiome (see "Overview of methanogens present in the rumen"). Also of note, this paper cites work indicating many rumen ciliate protozoa have ecto- and endo-associated methanogenic archaea (see "Methanogens associated with rumen protozoa"). However, most ruminal methanogens are "free-living" (i.e. not protozoa-associated; see "Free-living ruminal methanogens").

[ Depending on your device and browser, the proper hanging first line may or may not be visible here. ]

To export a bibliography from EndNote with this format, see " Exporting a Bibliography From EndNote " on the " EndNote Resources For Bio195N " page of this guide.

Alternatively, to create this format in Word, see 

Open Format  > Paragraph

Alternatively, highlight the text, right-click and select Paragraph .

Under Indentation , there is a drop down menu for Special options. This includes the Hanging First Line . 

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What is an Annotated Bibliography?

What is an annotated bibliography.

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

Annotations vs. Abstracts

Abstracts are the purely descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles or in periodical indexes. Annotations are descriptive and critical; they may describe the author's point of view, authority, or clarity and appropriateness of expression.

The Process

Creating an annotated bibliography calls for the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research.

First, locate and record citations to books, periodicals, and documents that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic. Briefly examine and review the actual items. Then choose those works that provide a variety of perspectives on your topic.

Cite the book, article, or document using the appropriate style.

Write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article. Include one or more sentences that (a) evaluate the authority or background of the author, (b) comment on the intended audience, (c) compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or (d) explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic.

Critically Appraising the Book, Article, or Document

For guidance in critically appraising and analyzing the sources for your bibliography, see  How to Critically Analyze Information Sources . For information on the author's background and views, ask at the reference desk for help finding appropriate  biographical reference materials  and  book review  sources.

Choosing the Correct Citation Style

Check with your instructor to find out which style is preferred for your class. Online citation guides for both the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) styles are linked from the Library's  Citation Management page .

Sample Annotated Bibliography Entries

The following example uses APA style ( Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 7th edition, 2019) for the journal citation:

Waite, L., Goldschneider, F., & Witsberger, C. (1986). Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional family orientations among young adults.  American Sociological Review,   51 (4), 541-554. The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.

This example uses MLA style ( MLA Handbook , 9th edition, 2021) for the journal citation. For additional annotation guidance from MLA, see  5.132: Annotated Bibliographies .

Waite, Linda J., et al. "Nonfamily Living and the Erosion of Traditional Family Orientations Among Young Adults."  American Sociological Review,  vol. 51, no. 4, 1986, pp. 541-554. The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.

Thanks to   Olin Library Reference   Research & Learning Services  Cornell University Library  Ithaca, NY, USA https://guides.library.cornell.edu/annotatedbibliography

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Chicago 17th (A) Notes and Bibliography

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Getting Started

Chicago 17th (A) Notes and Bibliography is a citing and referencing style drawn from the 17th edition of  The Chicago Manual of Style .

You can  access an online copy  of the manual through the Monash Library, you will be required to sign in.

annotated bibliography referencing style

Our interactive online tutorials can help you understand the basics of citing and referencing, and why citing and referencing is important.

Elements of citing and referencing in Chicago 17th (A) Notes and Bibliography Style

There are two places you need to write references in your assessments.

1. Note citation

  • Use note citations to avoid plagiarism and show how your work is influenced by others.
  • These citations are usually written as footnotes, rather than endnotes, and are added through the automatic function in your word processor.
  • Footnotes are comprised of two elements: a superscript number in your text, and a corresponding number at the bottom of the page.

2. Bibliography

  • At the end of your assessment you need to provide a record of all the sources you have cited and consulted.
  • It is placed on a new page at the end of your work and has a specific format you need to follow. 

Additional resources

Quick start guide [pdf 0.2mb].

A printable three-page introduction with key examples.

annotated bibliography referencing style

The Chicago Manual of Style

Login and look at chapter 14 which covers specific Notes & Bibliography rules.

annotated bibliography referencing style

For when you need support beyond this guide

annotated bibliography referencing style

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WRT 200 (Prof. Ilknur Sancak-Marusa) Research Guide

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  • Research Process
  • Mapping Concepts
  • Evaluating Online Sources

MLA Citation Examples

Citation tools in library databases, mla citation tutorials, annotated bibliography.

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MLA Style Examples:

Works Cited List:  Olsen, Dale A.  Music of El Dorado: the Ethnomusicology of Ancient South American Cultures . UP of Florida, 2002.

In-text: (Olsen 25)

Scholarly Article:

Works Cited List : Latartara, John. "The Timbre of Thai Classical Singing."  Asian Music , vol. 43, no. 2, 2012, pp. 88-114.  Project MUSE ,  https://doi.org/10.1353/amu.2012.0013

In-text:  (Latartara 97-8)

Online Website:

Works Cited List : Andaya, Barbara. "Introduction to Southeast Asia."  Center for Global Education,  Asia Society, 2017,  asiasociety.org/education/introduction-southeast-asia . Accessed 17 Dec. 2021.

In-text citation:  (Andaya)

Note: If an author is not listed, begin the citation with the title of the page. For example if the author was not evident on the citation above, the works cited entry would be:

"Vietnam: a Historical Introduction."  Center for Global Education,  Asia Society, 2017, asiasociety.org/education/vietnam. Accessed 17 Dec. 2021.

Adapted from  https://guides.library.unr.edu/mlacitation  

MLA Formatting and Style Guide (OWL at Purdue)

Covers all aspects of MLA formatting, including the paper itself and references. From The Writing Lab and  The Owl  at Purdue University.

MLA Documentation

Covers MLA formatting of citations and works cited list. From the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

EBSCO databases (e.g. Academic Search Ultimate) provide citation tools for your to create citations based on different citation styles. Click the article title , you will find the following tools list on the right of the screen. Use the Cite tool to create citations.

annotated bibliography referencing style

ProQuest Databases (e.g. Wall Street Journal Online) also provide citation tools. Click the title of the article , the following tools are listed on the top of the screen above the title of the article, use the Cite tool to create citations.

annotated bibliography referencing style

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  1. APA Annotated Bibliography Guide With Examples

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  2. Examples Of Annotated Bibliography Harvard Style

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  3. 💄 How to make an annotated bibliography mla. MLA Annotated Bibliography: Ultimate Guide. 2022-10-20

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  5. How to write an annotated bibliography step-by-step with examples

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  6. Learn How to Write an Annotated Bibliography Example in Different College Styles

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  1. "Annotated Bibliography" (Brief Description/Instructions)

  2. How to write References, Citations & Bibliography in Thesis/Dissertation

  3. Annotated Bibliography

  4. Annotated Bibliography

  5. Bibliography Meaning

  6. Annotated Bibliography WRTG 112

COMMENTS

  1. What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

    Published on March 9, 2021 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on August 23, 2022. An annotated bibliography is a list of source references that includes a short descriptive text (an annotation) for each source. It may be assigned as part of the research process for a paper, or as an individual assignment to gather and read relevant sources on a topic.

  2. The Annotated Bibliography

    Fair Use of this Guide Explanation, Process, Directions, and Examples What Is an Annotated Bibliography? An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation.

  3. How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

    UMGC Library Website How to Write an Annotated Bibliography - APA Style (7th Edition) Home What is an annotation? An annotation is more than just a brief summary of an article, book, website, or other type of publication. An annotation should give enough information to make a reader decide whether to read the complete work.

  4. MLA Style Annotated Bibliography

    Published on July 13, 2021 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on June 14, 2022. An annotated bibliography is a special assignment that lists sources in a way similar to the MLA Works Cited list, but providing an annotation for each source giving extra information.

  5. How to Write an Annotated Bibliography, With Examples

    Write with Grammarly What is an annotated bibliography? Annotated bibliographies are a type of bibliography with notes from the author on each source. These notes are called "annotations" and generally run around 50-150 words. The notes themselves have a very specific format, depending on the style guide used, as explained below.

  6. Annotated Bibliographies

    Bibliographies are sometimes called "References" or "Works Cited" depending on the style format you are using. A bibliography usually just includes the bibliographic information (i.e., the author, title, publisher, etc.). An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation.

  7. APA Annotated Bibliography Format

    Citation Generator Source Type Search The American Psychological Association states that your instructor should set the guidelines for your annotated bibliography, but does ask that the list be formatted according to their standard reference page rules (see Section 9.51 of the Publication Manual ).

  8. RasGuides: APA 7th Edition Guide: Annotated Bibliographies

    APA 7th Edition Guide This guide provides an overview of the APA citation style and provides students with basic information to begin learning and applying this style in their academic writing. APA 7th Edition Annotated Bibliographies Creating an Annotated Bibliography What is an Annotated Bibliography Writing an Annotation

  9. APA Citation Guide (7th Edition): Annotated Bibliography

    An annotated bibliography is a list of citations for various books, articles, and other sources on a topic. The annotated bibliography looks like a References page but includes an annotation after each source cited. An annotation is a short summary and/or critical evaluation of a source. Annotated bibliographies can be part of a larger research ...

  10. Home

    An annotated bibliography is a list of citations (references) to books, articles, and documents followed by a brief summary, analysis or evaluation, usually between 100-300 words, of the sources that are cited in the paper. This summary provides a description of the contents of the source and may also include evaluative comments, such as the ...

  11. Annotated Bibliography

    See Format basics The order of references also follow the same style and order as on a Reference page Alphabetical with hanging indents etc. See Citations: references The annotation - the notes you have about the source - appear in a new paragraph below its reference entry, indented 0.5 inches from the left margin Annotated bibliography example

  12. How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

    An annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources (like a reference list). It differs from a straightforward bibliography in that each reference is followed by a paragraph length annotation, usually 100-200 words in length. Depending on the assignment, an annotated bibliography might have different purposes:

  13. Annotated Bibliography Samples

    Overview Below you will find sample annotations from annotated bibliographies, each with a different research project. Remember that the annotations you include in your own bibliography should reflect your research project and/or the guidelines of your assignment.

  14. Annotated Bibliography Examples for MLA & APA

    A bibliography is a complete list of the sources that were used to complete a research paper or project.. Depending on the style guide you follow, you may also see this called a Works Cited (also called an MLA bibliography) or Reference List (APA format).Each listed source, or citation, shares information about the author, title, publishing year, and other details that serve to credit the ...

  15. How to write an annotated bibliography

    MLA style format (8th ed.) Hanging Indents are required for citations in the bibliography, as shown below. That is, the first line of the citation starts at the left margin, and subsequent lines are indented 4 spaces. The bibliography is double-spaced, both within the citation and between them. The annotation appends the entry unless complete ...

  16. APA Annotated Bibliography Guide With Examples

    You use the same author-date style and place the elements in the same order. Here's a quick rundown of the guidelines: Right-aligned page number. Running header (Optional) One-inch margins. Double spaced. The title "Annotated Bibliography" centered. Hanging indent for second and subsequent lines of the citation.

  17. LibGuides: APA 7th Edition Style Guide: Annotated Bibliography

    The annotated bibliography allows your professor to see the sources you will use in your final research paper. It shows that you have planned ahead by conducting research and gave thought to the information you will need to write a complete research paper. The annotations may summarize or evaluate the sources used. The references need to follow ...

  18. Annotated Bibliography

    An annotated bibliography is a list of references from published sources (e.g. books, journal articles, reports) which are followed by a brief description of the text and an evaluation of its content relative to your assignment. It is usually between 100-200 words per reference, but refer to your lecturer's assignment brief for guidelines. An ...

  19. Annotated Bibliography

    Include one or more sentences that: evaluate the authority or background of the author, comment on the intended audience, compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic. Critically Appraising the Book, Article, or Document

  20. Creating Your Annotated Bibliography

    It's a Strategic Tool! An annotated bibliography is one of the best tools to help you write your essay. It helps you remember the sources you have consulted and is a good starting point for organizing your argument. Annotated bibliographies can fulfill any and all of these functions: summary analysis evaluation

  21. Annotated bibliographies

    Referencing style - Format the complete reference details at the beginning of each bibliographic entry to match the referencing style. Position of annotation - Your annotation may immediately follow the reference details on the same line, or it may be positioned one or two lines below, usually with a paragraph indent.

  22. Annotated Bibliography

    Annotated Bibliography. The information provided is found in the APA Manual, 7th Ed. Sections 1.10 & 9.51. Annotated bibliographies consist of reference list entries followed by short descriptions of the work called annotations. Instructors generally set requirements, but APA Style guidelines still apply.

  23. Examples

    Annotated Bibliographies can be a great resource for students before they write other types of assignments, like literature reviews . There are TWO PARTS to each entry in an Annotated Bibliography. They are: The citation of the resource, in whatever citation style you're required to use. The annotation describing the contents of the resource ...

  24. Annotated Bibliography

    Annotated Bibliography - definition: ... Sample citations using APA Style 7th edition (including sample table and figures) Interactive, pre-formatted paper templates; Tools to insert references; Collaborative writing tools; Academic Writer (formerly APA Style CENTRAL)

  25. Annotated Bibliography

    An annotated bibliography is a list of cited sources from books, articles, documents, or websites. Some annotated bibliography summarize a source and some evaluate or assess a source. Your professor will specify the type and citation style of annotated bibliography they would like. Sample of an Annotated Bibliography.

  26. Getting Started With Annotated Bibliographies

    Most of the major citation styles call for a hanging first line on annotated bibliographies. This means the first line of the citation will align with the left margin of the page, and all subsequent lines of the citation and annotation will indent to the right. Example of an Annotated Citation using the Ecology Journal Style

  27. Annotated Bibliography

    Sample Annotated Bibliography Entries. The following example uses APA style (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition, 2019) for the journal citation:Waite, L., Goldschneider, F., & Witsberger, C. (1986). Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional family orientations among young adults.

  28. Getting started

    Chicago 17th (A) Notes and Bibliography is a citing and referencing style drawn from the 17th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style. You can access an online copy of the manual through the Monash Library, you will be required to sign in. This guide is designed to help you: Apply the correct Chicago 17th format to different types of resources

  29. Citation & Annotated Bibliography

    EBSCO databases (e.g. Academic Search Ultimate) provide citation tools for your to create citations based on different citation styles. Click the article title, you will find the following tools list on the right of the screen.Use the Cite tool to create citations.. ProQuest Databases (e.g. Wall Street Journal Online) also provide citation tools.