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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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- What Is an Annotated Bibliography? | Examples & Format
What Is an Annotated Bibliography? | Examples & Format
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.
Scribbr’s free Citation Generator allows you to easily create and manage your annotated bibliography in APA or MLA style. To generate a perfectly formatted annotated bibliography, select the source type, fill out the relevant fields, and add your annotation.
An example of an annotated source is shown below:
Table of contents
Annotated bibliography format: apa, mla, chicago, how to write an annotated bibliography, descriptive annotation example, evaluative annotation example, reflective annotation example, finding sources for your annotated bibliography, frequently asked questions about annotated bibliographies.
Make sure your annotated bibliography is formatted according to the guidelines of the style guide you’re working with. Three common styles are covered below:
In APA Style , both the reference entry and the annotation should be double-spaced and left-aligned.
The reference entry itself should have a hanging indent . The annotation follows on the next line, and the whole annotation should be indented to match the hanging indent. The first line of any additional paragraphs should be indented an additional time.
In an MLA style annotated bibliography , the Works Cited entry and the annotation are both double-spaced and left-aligned.
The Works Cited entry has a hanging indent. The annotation itself is indented 1 inch (twice as far as the hanging indent). If there are two or more paragraphs in the annotation, the first line of each paragraph is indented an additional half-inch, but not if there is only one paragraph.
In a Chicago style annotated bibliography , the bibliography entry itself should be single-spaced and feature a hanging indent.
The annotation should be indented, double-spaced, and left-aligned. The first line of any additional paragraphs should be indented an additional time.
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For each source, start by writing (or generating ) a full reference entry that gives the author, title, date, and other information. The annotated bibliography format varies based on the citation style you’re using.
The annotations themselves are usually between 50 and 200 words in length, typically formatted as a single paragraph. This can vary depending on the word count of the assignment, the relative length and importance of different sources, and the number of sources you include.
Consider the instructions you’ve been given or consult your instructor to determine what kind of annotations they’re looking for:
- Descriptive annotations : When the assignment is just about gathering and summarizing information, focus on the key arguments and methods of each source.
- Evaluative annotations : When the assignment is about evaluating the sources , you should also assess the validity and effectiveness of these arguments and methods.
- Reflective annotations : When the assignment is part of a larger research process, you need to consider the relevance and usefulness of the sources to your own research.
These specific terms won’t necessarily be used. The important thing is to understand the purpose of your assignment and pick the approach that matches it best. Interactive examples of the different styles of annotation are shown below.
A descriptive annotation summarizes the approach and arguments of a source in an objective way, without attempting to assess their validity.
In this way, it resembles an abstract , but you should never just copy text from a source’s abstract, as this would be considered plagiarism . You’ll naturally cover similar ground, but you should also consider whether the abstract omits any important points from the full text.
The interactive example shown below describes an article about the relationship between business regulations and CO 2 emissions.
Rieger, A. (2019). Doing business and increasing emissions? An exploratory analysis of the impact of business regulation on CO 2 emissions. Human Ecology Review , 25 (1), 69–86. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26964340
An evaluative annotation also describes the content of a source, but it goes on to evaluate elements like the validity of the source’s arguments and the appropriateness of its methods .
For example, the following annotation describes, and evaluates the effectiveness of, a book about the history of Western philosophy.
Kenny, A. (2010). A new history of Western philosophy: In four parts . Oxford University Press.
Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.
A reflective annotation is similar to an evaluative one, but it focuses on the source’s usefulness or relevance to your own research.
Reflective annotations are often required when the point is to gather sources for a future research project, or to assess how they were used in a project you already completed.
The annotation below assesses the usefulness of a particular article for the author’s own research in the field of media studies.
Manovich, Lev. (2009). The practice of everyday (media) life: From mass consumption to mass cultural production? Critical Inquiry , 35 (2), 319–331. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/596645
Manovich’s article assesses the shift from a consumption-based media culture (in which media content is produced by a small number of professionals and consumed by a mass audience) to a production-based media culture (in which this mass audience is just as active in producing content as in consuming it). He is skeptical of some of the claims made about this cultural shift; specifically, he argues that the shift towards user-made content must be regarded as more reliant upon commercial media production than it is typically acknowledged to be. However, he regards web 2.0 as an exciting ongoing development for art and media production, citing its innovation and unpredictability.
The article is outdated in certain ways (it dates from 2009, before the launch of Instagram, to give just one example). Nevertheless, its critical engagement with the possibilities opened up for media production by the growth of social media is valuable in a general sense, and its conceptualization of these changes frequently applies just as well to more current social media platforms as it does to Myspace. Conceptually, I intend to draw on this article in my own analysis of the social dynamics of Twitter and Instagram.
Before you can write your annotations, you’ll need to find sources . If the annotated bibliography is part of the research process for a paper, your sources will be those you consult and cite as you prepare the paper. Otherwise, your assignment and your choice of topic will guide you in what kind of sources to look for.
Make sure that you’ve clearly defined your topic , and then consider what keywords are relevant to it, including variants of the terms. Use these keywords to search databases (e.g., Google Scholar ), using Boolean operators to refine your search.
Sources can include journal articles, books, and other source types , depending on the scope of the assignment. Read the abstracts or blurbs of the sources you find to see whether they’re relevant, and try exploring their bibliographies to discover more. If a particular source keeps showing up, it’s probably important.
Once you’ve selected an appropriate range of sources, read through them, taking notes that you can use to build up your annotations. You may even prefer to write your annotations as you go, while each source is fresh in your mind.
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 .
A source annotation in an annotated bibliography fulfills a similar purpose to an abstract : they’re both intended to summarize the approach and key points of a source.
However, an annotation may also evaluate the source , discussing the validity and effectiveness of its arguments. Even if your annotation is purely descriptive , you may have a different perspective on the source from the author and highlight different key points.
You should never just copy text from the abstract for your annotation, as doing so constitutes plagiarism .
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Caulfield, J. (2022, August 23). What Is an Annotated Bibliography? | Examples & Format. Scribbr. Retrieved November 18, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/citing-sources/annotated-bibliography/
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How to Write an Annotated Bibliography - APA Style (7th Edition)
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 as we will see when we look at the two major types of annotations.
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.
McKinnon, A. (2019). Lessons learned in year one of business. Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting , 30 (4), 26–28. This article describes some of the difficulties many nurses experience when transitioning from nursing to a legal nurse consulting business. Pointing out issues of work-life balance, as well as the differences of working for someone else versus working for yourself, the author offers their personal experience as a learning tool. The process of becoming an entrepreneur is not often discussed in relation to nursing, and rarely delves into only the first year of starting a new business. Time management, maintaining an existing job, decision-making, and knowing yourself in order to market yourself are discussed with some detail. The author goes on to describe how important both the nursing professional community will be to a new business, and the importance of mentorship as both the mentee and mentor in individual success that can be found through professional connections. The article’s focus on practical advice for nurses seeking to start their own business does not detract from the advice about universal struggles of entrepreneurship makes this an article of interest to a wide-ranging audience.
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.
McKinnon, A. (2019). Lessons learned in year one of business. Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting , 30 (4), 26–28. This article describes some of the difficulty many nurses experience when transitioning from nursing to a nurse consulting business. While the article focuses on issues of work-life balance, the differences of working for someone else versus working for yourself, marketing, and other business issues the author’s offer of only their personal experience is brief with few or no alternative solutions provided. There is no mention throughout the article of making use of other research about starting a new business and being successful. While relying on the anecdotal advice for their list of issues, the author does reference other business resources such as the Small Business Administration to help with business planning and professional organizations that can help with mentorships. The article is a good resource for those wanting to start their own legal nurse consulting business, a good first advice article even. However, entrepreneurs should also use more business research studies focused on starting a new business, with strategies against known or expected pitfalls and issues new businesses face, and for help on topics the author did not touch in this abbreviated list of lessons learned.
Now you are ready to begin writing your own annotated bibliography.
- 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 may be arranged alphabetically or chronologically, check with your instructor to see what he or she prefers.
Please see the APA Examples page for more information on citing in APA style.
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APA 7th Edition Guide
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Creating an Annotated Bibliography
- What is an Annotated Bibliography
Writing an Annotation
Formatting an annotated bibliography.
- Resources and Tools
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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:
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.
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.
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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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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Annotated Bibliographies: Formatting: APA
- Formatting: MLA
- MLA Sample Entries
- APA Sample Entries
The sample below provides a snapshot of what a completed annotated bibliography would look like. Scroll further to see notes on specific formatting considerations for APA style.
Notes: Headings and Titles
The American Psychological Association does not prescribe a specific title format for annotated bibliographies. However, to follow the formatting guidelines for APA-style papers, include a separate title page and a page number for each page of your bibliography. For APA-style paper templates, see the HPULibraries APA citation guide (7th Edition).
Consider creating a descriptive title, with the inclusion of "An Annotated Bibliography" as the subtitle.
Annotated bibliographies are double-spaced throughout. This includes the space between the title and the first entry, as well as the space between entries.
Use 'hanging indent' format: The first line of each reference is flush to the left margin, and subsequent lines are indented.
Note that the entire annotation below the reference should be indented, so that only the first line of the reference is to the left margin. This makes it easier for a reader to skim the list for author names or publication dates.
Entries within annotated bibliographies are ordered alphabetically by the first component of the entry (usually the author). As in MLA, APA reference lists use the letter-by-letter system, which means the order of names is determined by the letters before the commas between surnames and given names (MLA, 170). For example:
Saint-Exupery, Antoine de
St. Denis, Ruth
Letters following the commas are only considered when two or more last names are identical:
If the author's name is unknown, alphabetize by title, ignoring the 'A', 'An', 'The', etc.
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APA Guide - 7th Edition: Annotated Bibliographies
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- Annotated Bibliographies
An annotated bibliography is a type of student paper in which reference list entries are followed by short descriptions of the work, called annotations. Annotated bibliographies can also constitute one element of a research paper in fields that require bibliographies rather than reference lists. Most APA Style guidelines are applicable to annotated bibliographies (margins, font, line spacing, etc.).
In general, it is not necessary to cite the work being annotated in the annotations because the origin of the information is clear through context. However, do include in-text citations if you refer to multiple works within an annotation to clarify the source.
Examples & Templates
- Annotated Bibliography Sample from APA Manual
- Annotated Bib Template_Includes Title Page
- How to Create an Annotated Bibliography
What is an Annotated Bibliography?
What is an Annotated Bibliography? by OWLPurdue on YouTube
- Purdue OWL Definitions, formatting, examples, & samples.
- Writing an Annotated Bibliography General guide from the University of Guelph. Overview and examples.
An evaluative annotation includes a summary but also critically assesses the work for accuracy, relevance, and quality. The focus is on description and evaluation.
They can help you:
- learn about your topic
- develop a thesis statement
- decide if a specific source will be useful for your assignment
- determine if there is enough valid information available to complete your project.
Basic Writing & Format Tips
Basic Writing and Format Tips:
- Start with the same format as a regular References list.
- After each citation, the annotation is indented two spaces from the left margin as a block.
- Each annotation should be one paragraph, between three to six sentences long (about 150-200 words).
- All lines should be double-spaced. Do not add an extra line between the citations.
- If your list of citations is especially long, you can organize it by topic.
- Try to be objective, and give explanations if you state any opinions.
- Use the third person (e.g., he, she, the author) instead of the first person (e.g., I, my, me).
An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation. Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or critical evaluation of each of the sources. The annotated bibliography looks like a References page but includes an annotation after each full citation.
Annotated bibliographies can be part of a larger research project, or can be a stand-alone report in itself.
Depending on your project or the assignment, your annotations may do one or more of the following:
- Some annotations merely summarize the source. What are the main arguments? What topics are covered? The length of your annotations will determine how detailed your summary is. Who wrote the document? When and where was the document written?
- After summarizing a source, it may be helpful to evaluate it. Is it a useful source? How does it compare with other soruces in your biliography? What is the goal of this source?
- Once you've summarized and assessed a source, ask yourself how it fits into your research. How does it help shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project?
Your annotated bibliography may include some of these, all of these, or even others. If you're doing this for a class, you should get specific guidelines from your instructor.
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About Annotated Bibliographies
An annotated bibliography is a type of student paper in which reference list entries are followed by short descriptions of the work called annotations. Most APA Style guidelines are applicable to annotated bibliographies. Annotated bibliographies use one-inch margins, Times New Roman 12-point typeface, and are double spaced. 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 if you refer to multiple works within an annotation to clarify the source.
Instructors generally set all other requirements for annotated bibliographies (e.g., number of references to include, length and focus of each annotation). In the absence of other guidance, format an annotated bibliography as follows:
Format and order references in an annotated bibliography in alphabetical order, the same as you would order entries in a reference list.
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. 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 inch , the same as you would a block quotation with multiple paragraphs.
Annotated Bibliography Example
Ok, M. W., Kim, M. K., Kang, E. Y., & Bryant, B. R. (2016). How to find good apps: An
evaluation rubric for instructional apps for teaching students with learning disabilities. Intervention in School and Clinic, 51 (4), 244-252. https://doi-org.tcsedsystem.idm.oclc.org/10.1177/1053451215589179
As technology has evolved, a new type of computer, the mobile device (e.g., smartphone, tablet), has gained popularity. The mobile device is a small-sized, portable computer that typically has touch-screen features; the iPad is one of the more popular mobile devices used in schools today. Upon the initial release of the iPad in 2010, the device and instructional applications (i.e., apps) quickly gained popularity in educational settings despite many teachers’ lack of knowledge concerning the devices’ implications for learning.
Nevertheless, teachers and parents have reported positive results using mobile devices and apps, and professionals have also demonstrated that mobile devices and apps have the potential to be useful tools for students with disabilities. Mobile devices provide the availability of downloadable, inexpensive software that can serve as cost-effective assistive technology. In addition, their touch-screen feature allows students with disabilities to use the device without having to operate a mouse or a touch pad. Most mobile devices also have Internet access, built-in video, a camera, and audio-capture capabilities. These devices can be easily individualized to meet the needs of individual students with disabilities.
Adapted from American Psychological Association publication manual (7th ed.).
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APA annotated bibliography
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An annotated bibliography is a special type of bibliography that provides additional information about the sources listed in the references list. The additional information about a source is called an annotation. An annotation can be given for all types of sources such as journals, books, or reports. The length of the annotation can extend up to 150 words.
Aim of an annotated bibliography
The aim of an annotated bibliography is to either provide details of the topics discussed in the source or assess the source. The primary goal of adding an annotation is to give the reader the significance, merit, and benefit of using a source. Never try to provide proof, take the author’s text verbatim, or discuss irrelevant points in your annotation.
Classification of annotations
Annotations are classified into two types:
The descriptive type gives crucial details of the source or describes the source. It gives insight into the topic covered in the source. It can also explain the purpose of the source.
An evaluative annotation analyzes a source. It explores a source and shows its relevance by examining its preciseness. An evaluative annotation tries to correlate the source with other recognized sources or studies on the same topic. It may also talk about the merits and demerits of a source.
Parts of an annotated bibliography
An annotated bibliography consists of
- The citation
- The annotation
The citation includes all components of a source. For example, the author, book title, publisher, and publication year are important components to be included in a book citation.
Fairclough, N. (2015). Language and power . Routledge.
The annotation provides the necessary fundamental details of the source. As mentioned, the details can be either descriptive or evaluative.
It gives a brief description of all relevant information of the source. The below example is taken from Fairclough (2015). Complete information of the source is given below the annotation.
The book focuses on how language functions in maintaining and changing power relations in modern society, the ways of analyzing language which can reveal these processes, and how people can become more conscious of them, as well as more able to resist and change them. Norman Fairclough includes a substantial new introduction and brings the discussion up to date. He shows both the importance of the book in the development of critical discourse analysis over the past three decades and how language and power relations have changed due to major socioeconomic changes.
An evaluative annotation mirrors the views of the author, highlights the benefits of the work, and also provides a detailed evaluation of the source.
This book of Fairclough is a preamble to the study of discourse analysis. The book shows its steady importance and contribution to language and power. The book clearly illustrates the relationship between language and power with sufficient evidence. The book is important for students pursuing discourse analysis and other related fields.
Rules for creating annotated bibliographies
- The annotation is added after the reference-list entry of a source.
- The annotation extends up to 150 words.
- Both phrases and full sentences are permitted in the annotation.
- Write the annotation in a single paragraph. However, if you want to include multiple paragraphs, indent the second and subsequent paragraphs. However, the paragraphs should not have any extra line spaces in between.
Writing annotated bibliographies
To write an annotated bibliography in APA, follow the below guidelines:
- The annotation should be short and concise.
- Use various links such as “while,” “but,” and “in addition” to connect sentences. This will enhance the readability of your content.
- Do not use words that serve no purpose in your sentences.
- Avoid very long sentences.
- Put forth your views directly.
- Avoid contractions such as “won’t” and ‘isn’t” in the annotation.
Formatting annotated bibliographies
To format an annotated bibliography in APA, follow the below recommendations:
- Begin your annotated bibliography on a new page after the end of the body text.
- The annotated bibliography appears before the figures, tables, and appendices.
- Set the left, right, top, and bottom margins at 1 inch.
- The lines are double-spaced.
- The title should be “Annotated Bibliography.” Format the heading in bold.
- Center align the title to the page.
- All references are aligned left in the annotated bibliography. For entries running over more than a line, provide 0.5 inches indent to the second and subsequent lines from the left margin.
- Entries are arranged according to the alphabetical arrangement of the author’s surnames.
- Each annotation is added below its corresponding reference entry. Annotations are indented 0.5 inches from the left margin.
Arranging annotated bibliographies
There is no need to look at annotations for arranging them. Arrange the reference entries alphabetically per the author’s surname and place the annotation below the corresponding entry.
For references without authors, arrange the entries by their title.
Example annotated bibliography
The below example shows an annotated bibliography:
- Annotated Bibliography
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 focuses on problems of power and perception dominant in academic discourses of logic to study a discourse analysis of the goals of the most important subjects in teaching thinking. He proves that social and group responsibilities are reproduced as thinking that is treasured by all in society. Through his research, Lim asserts that such courses retain our understanding of thinking and reasoning. It must enhance the social reproduction of a specific proportion of the normal group of people.
- An annotated bibliography is a special type of bibliography that provides additional information about the sources listed in the references list.
- The aim of an annotated bibliography is to either provide details of the topics discussed in the source or assess the source.
- The two types of annotations are descriptive and evaluative.
- The heading should be “Annotated Bibliography.”
- Annotation can be written up to 150 words.
- Block Quotes
- Headings & Headers
- In-text Citations
- Reference Page
- Paper Format
- View APA Formatting Guide
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- ENC Learning Commons
- Sample APA Annotation
- URL: https://libguides.enc.edu/writing_basics/annotatedbib
- Definition and Descriptions
- Evaluation Tools
- Parts of an Annotation
- Sample ASA Annotation
- Sample Chicago Annotation
- Sample MLA Annotation
American Psychological Association (APA) Annotations
Creating an annotated bibliography in APA style
The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 7th edition (APA Manual) is kept behind the iDesk on the First Floor.
This example is based on the APA style guide, but your instructor might give you other formatting instructions .
Some annotations are merely descriptive , summarizing the authors' qualifications, research methods, and arguments.
Many annotations evaluate the quality of scholarship in a book or article. You might want to consider the logic of authors' arguments, and the quality of their evidence. Your findings can be positive, negative, or mixed.
Your professor might also want you to explain why the source is relevant to your assignment.
Sample Page: APA-formatted annotated bibliography
Rules! rules! rules!
The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.) states the following formatting rules:
- The text and the reference list should be double-spaced.
- Numbering starts on the title page, at the top right of the page.
- Reference list entries must have a hanging indent (to do this in Microsoft Word 2003, click Format, then Paragraph, then Special, and choose Hanging).
- There should be 1 inch (2.54 cm) margins all around (top, bottom, left, and right) on each page.
- Use Times Roman font, or a similar serif font.
- Each paragraph should be indented.
More Sample Annotations
Cornell University Library offers these instructions on preparing an annotated bibliography.
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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.
- 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.
- 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 .
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.
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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What this handout is about.
This handout will explain why annotated bibliographies are useful for researchers, provide an explanation of what constitutes an annotation, describe various types of annotations and styles for writing them, and offer multiple examples of annotated bibliographies in the MLA, APA, and CBE/CSE styles of citation.
Welcome to the wonderful world of annotated bibliographies! You’re probably already familiar with the need to provide bibliographies, reference pages, and works cited lists to credit your sources when you do a research paper. An annotated bibliography includes descriptions and explanations of your listed sources beyond the basic citation information you usually provide.
Why do an annotated bibliography?
One of the reasons behind citing sources and compiling a general bibliography is so that you can prove you have done some valid research to back up your argument and claims. Readers can refer to a citation in your bibliography and then go look up the material themselves. When inspired by your text or your argument, interested researchers can access your resources. They may wish to double check a claim or interpretation you’ve made, or they may simply wish to continue researching according to their interests. But think about it: even though a bibliography provides a list of research sources of all types that includes publishing information, how much does that really tell a researcher or reader about the sources themselves?
An annotated bibliography provides specific information about each source you have used. As a researcher, you have become an expert on your topic: you have the ability to explain the content of your sources, assess their usefulness, and share this information with others who may be less familiar with them. Think of your paper as part of a conversation with people interested in the same things you are; the annotated bibliography allows you to tell readers what to check out, what might be worth checking out in some situations, and what might not be worth spending the time on. It’s kind of like providing a list of good movies for your classmates to watch and then going over the list with them, telling them why this movie is better than that one or why one student in your class might like a particular movie better than another student would. You want to give your audience enough information to understand basically what the movies are about and to make an informed decision about where to spend their money based on their interests.
What does an annotated bibliography do?
A good annotated bibliography:
- encourages you to think critically about the content of the works you are using, their place within a field of study, and their relation to your own research and ideas.
- proves you have read and understand your sources.
- establishes your work as a valid source and you as a competent researcher.
- situates your study and topic in a continuing professional conversation.
- provides a way for others to decide whether a source will be helpful to their research if they read it.
- could help interested researchers determine whether they are interested in a topic by providing background information and an idea of the kind of work going on in a field.
What elements might an annotation include?
- Bibliography according to the appropriate citation style (MLA, APA, CBE/CSE, etc.).
- Explanation of main points and/or purpose of the work—basically, its thesis—which shows among other things that you have read and thoroughly understand the source.
- Verification or critique of the authority or qualifications of the author.
- Comments on the worth, effectiveness, and usefulness of the work in terms of both the topic being researched and/or your own research project.
- The point of view or perspective from which the work was written. For instance, you may note whether the author seemed to have particular biases or was trying to reach a particular audience.
- Relevant links to other work done in the area, like related sources, possibly including a comparison with some of those already on your list. You may want to establish connections to other aspects of the same argument or opposing views.
The first four elements above are usually a necessary part of the annotated bibliography. Points 5 and 6 may involve a little more analysis of the source, but you may include them in other kinds of annotations besides evaluative ones. Depending on the type of annotation you use, which this handout will address in the next section, there may be additional kinds of information that you will need to include.
For more extensive research papers (probably ten pages or more), you often see resource materials grouped into sub-headed sections based on content, but this probably will not be necessary for the kinds of assignments you’ll be working on. For longer papers, ask your instructor about her preferences concerning annotated bibliographies.
Did you know that annotations have categories and styles?
As you go through this handout, you’ll see that, before you start, you’ll need to make several decisions about your annotations: citation format, type of annotation, and writing style for the annotation.
First of all, you’ll need to decide which kind of citation format is appropriate to the paper and its sources, for instance, MLA or APA. This may influence the format of the annotations and bibliography. Typically, bibliographies should be double-spaced and use normal margins (you may want to check with your instructor, since he may have a different style he wants you to follow).
MLA (Modern Language Association)
See the UNC Libraries citation tutorial for basic MLA bibliography formatting and rules.
- MLA documentation is generally used for disciplines in the humanities, such as English, languages, film, and cultural studies or other theoretical studies. These annotations are often summary or analytical annotations.
- Title your annotated bibliography “Annotated Bibliography” or “Annotated List of Works Cited.”
- Following MLA format, use a hanging indent for your bibliographic information. This means the first line is not indented and all the other lines are indented four spaces (you may ask your instructor if it’s okay to tab over instead of using four spaces).
- Begin your annotation immediately after the bibliographic information of the source ends; don’t skip a line down unless you have been told to do so by your instructor.
APA (American Psychological Association)
See the UNC Libraries citation tutorial for basic APA bibliography formatting and rules.
- Natural and social sciences, such as psychology, nursing, sociology, and social work, use APA documentation. It is also used in economics, business, and criminology. These annotations are often succinct summaries.
- Annotated bibliographies for APA format do not require a special title. Use the usual “References” designation.
- Like MLA, APA uses a hanging indent: the first line is set flush with the left margin, and all other lines are indented four spaces (you may ask your instructor if it’s okay to tab over instead of using four spaces).
- After the bibliographic citation, drop down to the next line to begin the annotation, but don’t skip an extra line.
- The entire annotation is indented an additional two spaces, so that means each of its lines will be six spaces from the margin (if your instructor has said that it’s okay to tab over instead of using the four spaces rule, indent the annotation two more spaces in from that point).
CBE (Council of Biology Editors)/CSE (Council of Science Editors)
See the UNC Libraries citation tutorial for basic CBE/CSE bibliography formatting and rules.
- CBE/CSE documentation is used by the plant sciences, zoology, microbiology, and many of the medical sciences.
- Annotated bibliographies for CBE/CSE format do not require a special title. Use the usual “References,” “Cited References,” or “Literature Cited,” and set it flush with the left margin.
- Bibliographies for CSE in general are in a slightly smaller font than the rest of the paper.
- When using the name-year system, as in MLA and APA, the first line of each entry is set flush with the left margin, and all subsequent lines, including the annotation, are indented three or four spaces.
- When using the citation-sequence method, each entry begins two spaces after the number, and every line, including the annotation, will be indented to match the beginning of the entry, or may be slightly further indented, as in the case of journals.
- After the bibliographic citation, drop down to the next line to begin the annotation, but don’t skip an extra line. The entire annotation follows the indentation of the bibliographic entry, whether it’s N-Y or C-S format.
- Annotations in CBE/CSE are generally a smaller font size than the rest of the bibliographic information.
After choosing a documentation format, you’ll choose from a variety of annotation categories presented in the following section. Each type of annotation highlights a particular approach to presenting a source to a reader. For instance, an annotation could provide a summary of the source only, or it could also provide some additional evaluation of that material.
In addition to making choices related to the content of the annotation, you’ll also need to choose a style of writing—for instance, telescopic versus paragraph form. Your writing style isn’t dictated by the content of your annotation. Writing style simply refers to the way you’ve chosen to convey written information. A discussion of writing style follows the section on annotation types.
Types of annotations
As you now know, one annotation does not fit all purposes! There are different kinds of annotations, depending on what might be most important for your reader to learn about a source. Your assignments will usually make it clear which citation format you need to use, but they may not always specify which type of annotation to employ. In that case, you’ll either need to pick your instructor’s brain a little to see what she wants or use clue words from the assignment itself to make a decision. For instance, the assignment may tell you that your annotative bibliography should give evidence proving an analytical understanding of the sources you’ve used. The word analytical clues you in to the idea that you must evaluate the sources you’re working with and provide some kind of critique.
There are two kinds of summarizing annotations, informative and indicative.
Summarizing annotations in general have a couple of defining features:
- They sum up the content of the source, as a book report might.
- They give an overview of the arguments and proofs/evidence addressed in the work and note the resulting conclusion.
- They do not judge the work they are discussing. Leave that to the critical/evaluative annotations.
- When appropriate, they describe the author’s methodology or approach to material. For instance, you might mention if the source is an ethnography or if the author employs a particular kind of theory.
Informative annotations sometimes read like straight summaries of the source material, but they often spend a little more time summarizing relevant information about the author or the work itself.
Indicative annotation is the second type of summary annotation, but it does not attempt to include actual information from the argument itself. Instead, it gives general information about what kinds of questions or issues are addressed by the work. This sometimes includes the use of chapter titles.
Evaluative annotations don’t just summarize. In addition to tackling the points addressed in summary annotations, evaluative annotations:
- evaluate the source or author critically (biases, lack of evidence, objective, etc.).
- show how the work may or may not be useful for a particular field of study or audience.
- explain how researching this material assisted your own project.
An annotated bibliography may combine elements of all the types. In fact, most of them fall into this category: a little summarizing and describing, a little evaluation.
Ok, next! So what does it mean to use different writing styles as opposed to different kinds of content? Content is what belongs in the annotation, and style is the way you write it up. First, choose which content type you need to compose, and then choose the style you’re going to use to write it
This kind of annotated bibliography is a study in succinctness. It uses a minimalist treatment of both information and sentence structure, without sacrificing clarity. Warning: this kind of writing can be harder than you might think.
Don’t skimp on this kind of annotated bibliography. If your instructor has asked for paragraph form, it likely means that you’ll need to include several elements in the annotation, or that she expects a more in-depth description or evaluation, for instance. Make sure to provide a full paragraph of discussion for each work.
As you can see now, bibliographies and annotations are really a series of organized steps. They require meticulous attention, but in the end, you’ve got an entire testimony to all the research and work you’ve done. At the end of this handout you’ll find examples of informative, indicative, evaluative, combination, telescopic, and paragraph annotated bibliography entries in MLA, APA, and CBE formats. Use these examples as your guide to creating an annotated bibliography that makes you look like the expert you are!
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
American Psychological Association. 2010. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . 6th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Bell, I. F., and J. Gallup. 1971. A Reference Guide to English, American, and Canadian Literature . Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.
Bizzell, Patricia, and Bruce Herzburg. 1991. Bedford Bibliography for Teachers of Writing , 3rd ed. Boston: Bedford Books.
Center for Information on Language Teaching, and The English Teaching Information Center of the British Council. 1968. Language-Teaching Bibliography . Cambridge: Cambridge University.
Engle, Michael, Amy Blumenthal, and Tony Cosgrave. 2012. “How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography.” Olin & Uris Libraries. Cornell University. Last updated September 25, 2012. https://olinuris.library.cornell.edu/content/how-prepare-annotated-bibliography.
Gibaldi, Joseph. 2009. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers , 7th ed. New York: The Modern Language Association of America.
Grasso, Michael. 2004. “Speech Recognition Annotated Bibliography” (Website). University of Maryland-Baltimore County. Department of Computer Science. https://www.csee.umbc.edu/~mgrass2/dissert/annbib.html .
Huth, Edward. 1994. Scientific Style and Format: The CBE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers . New York: University of Cambridge.
Kilborn, Judith. 2004. “MLA Documentation.” LEO: Literacy Education Online. Last updated March 16, 2004. https://leo.stcloudstate.edu/research/mla.html.
Spatt, Brenda. 1991. Writing from Sources , 3rd ed. New York: St. Martin’s.
Memorial University. n.d. “How to Write Annotated Bibliographies.” Memorial University Libraries. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://www.library.mun.ca/researchtools/guides/writing/annotated_bibl/ .
University of Kansas. 2018. “Bibliographies.” KU Writing Center. Last updated April 2018. http://writing.ku.edu/bibliographies .
University of Wisconsin-Madison. 2019. “Annotated Bibliography.” The Writing Center. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/assignments/annotatedbibliography/ .
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This handout provides information about annotated bibliographies in MLA, APA, and CMS.
A bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, Web sites, periodicals, etc.) one has used for researching a topic. 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. Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources. Depending on your project or the assignment, your annotations may do one or more of the following.
For more help, see our handout on paraphrasing sources.
For more help, see our handouts on evaluating resources .
- Reflect : Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic?
Your annotated bibliography may include some of these, all of these, or even others. If you're doing this for a class, you should get specific guidelines from your instructor.
Why should I write an annotated bibliography?
To learn about your topic : Writing an annotated bibliography is excellent preparation for a research project. Just collecting sources for a bibliography is useful, but when you have to write annotations for each source, you're forced to read each source more carefully. You begin to read more critically instead of just collecting information. At the professional level, annotated bibliographies allow you to see what has been done in the literature and where your own research or scholarship can fit. To help you formulate a thesis: Every good research paper is an argument. The purpose of research is to state and support a thesis. So, a very important part of research is developing a thesis that is debatable, interesting, and current. Writing an annotated bibliography can help you gain a good perspective on what is being said about your topic. By reading and responding to a variety of sources on a topic, you'll start to see what the issues are, what people are arguing about, and you'll then be able to develop your own point of view.
To help other researchers : Extensive and scholarly annotated bibliographies are sometimes published. They provide a comprehensive overview of everything important that has been and is being said about that topic. You may not ever get your annotated bibliography published, but as a researcher, you might want to look for one that has been published about your topic.
The format of an annotated bibliography can vary, so if you're doing one for a class, it's important to ask for specific guidelines.
The bibliographic information : Generally, though, the bibliographic information of the source (the title, author, publisher, date, etc.) is written in either MLA or APA format. For more help with formatting, see our MLA handout . For APA, go here: APA handout .
The annotations: The annotations for each source are written in paragraph form. The lengths of the annotations can vary significantly from a couple of sentences to a couple of pages. The length will depend on the purpose. If you're just writing summaries of your sources, the annotations may not be very long. However, if you are writing an extensive analysis of each source, you'll need more space.
You can focus your annotations for your own needs. A few sentences of general summary followed by several sentences of how you can fit the work into your larger paper or project can serve you well when you go to draft.
Want to create or adapt books like this? Learn more about how Pressbooks supports open publishing practices.
Dr. Sandi Van Lieu
During your research in your college classes, you may be asked to write an annotated bibliography.
What is an Annotated Bibliography?
An annotated bibliography is a full citation (in either MLA or APA format) of a source, followed by a brief description and evaluation of the book or article. See the following example:
What to put in the annotation:
- Information: A summary of your findings
- Evaluation: What did you think of it, how will it help your topic
- Comparison: How it compares to other books/articles
- Authority: The background of the author
Annotated bibliographies are not difficult; just remember it’s an organized list of the sources you’ve used, each of which is followed by a brief note—the annotation.
Here are a couple of entries Antonio makes in his annotated bibliography for an essay he is writing on head injuries in football. Using the same search terms (“helmets,” “NFL,” and “head injuries”), a search of Academic Search Complete in his college library nets him entries 1, 2, and 4, and a search on Google nets him entry 3. Drawing from the color-coding suggestion, Antonio distinguishes between direct quotation (red), paraphrase (blue) and summary (purple), by using different font colors for each.
See below for another example of how your annotated bibliography can look in MLA format .
APA Annotated Bibliographies
The format above is similar for APA format — your annotated bibliography should be double-spaced; references should be in alphabetical order and have a hanging indent. However, your annotations should be fully indented as you would for a block quote. Here is an example:
1. Choose a research topic of interest to you. Find a related website and find the following pieces of information: name of author, editor, or sponsoring organization; title of article; title of journal or site that has published the article; version or issue number; date of publication or access date.
2. Choose a research topic of interest to you. Find a related online blog.
3. Choose a research topic of interest to you and set up a related RSS feed.
4. Choose a research topic of interest to you. Find a related government site.
5. Choose a research topic of interest to you. Online, find a related photo, video, and table.
6. With your writing group sharing a couple of computers, amass several sources of an essay and write up an annotated bibliography.
7. Using Antonio’s essay idea on helmet hits in the NFL, draw up two statements of purpose that differ from each other in at least three of the six concerns (voice, audience, message, tone, attitude, or reception).
- “Annotated Bibliography,” created by Dr. Sandi Van Lieu and licensed under CC BY NC SA 3.0 .
- Content from “ Chapter 7: Researching ” and licensed under CC BY NC SA .
The RoughWriter's Guide Copyright © 2020 by Dr. Sandi Van Lieu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
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- Types of Annotated Bibliographies
- Published Annotated Bibliographies
- What to Include in your Annotations
- Want Help with Citations? This link opens in a new window
This page includes basic guidelines and examples from MLA, APA, and Chicago citation styles. Please follow your instructor's requirements above all.
Modern language association (mla) 9th edition.
The following information comes from MLA 9th Edition chapter 5.132 (page 226 in the print edition).
- Your source should be formatted how it would appear in a works cited list.
- Annotations should be indented one inch (as opposed to the half-inch hanging indent used in the citation itself).
- Generally, annotations should be one paragraph.
Example, from the MLA Handbook:
The book provides a comprehensive history of Australian print censorship and discusses its implications for questions of transnationalism and the construction of the reader.
American Psychological Association (APA) 7th Edition
The following information comes from APA 7th Edition chapter 9.51 (pages 307 and 308 in the print edition).
- "Most APA Style guidelines are applicable to annotated bibliographies."
- Include in-text citations if you reference other works within a single annotation.
- Format your citations in alphabetical order.
- Indent the whole annotation .5 inches.
Example, from the APA Manual:
This book chapter provides an overview of the psychosociological concept of work-life balance. The authors discuss findings from studies showing harmful effects of work-life conflict on psychological and behavioral health as well as beneficial effects of work-life facilitation, wherein one role makes a positive contribution to the other. The chapter concludes with a description of work-life balance initiatives that organizations have adopted to help employees manage their dual work and nonwork obligations and some of the key factors influencing their effectiveness.
The Chicago Manual of Style 17th Edition
The following information comes from Chicago 17th Edition chapter 14.64 (page 779 in the print edition).
- Annotations are usually started on the line following citations.
- Annotations are usually indented.
Example, from the Chicago Manual:
Concentrates on the postwar period from 1945 to 1960 and presents the work of poets who identified themselves with antiformalist movements or waves, often associated with fugitive publications and little magazines ( Yugen, Neon, Kulchur, Big Table, etc.): the most prominent groups were the Black Mountain school (Olson, Duncan) and the experimental city poets from New York (like Frank O'Hara, LeRoi Jones, and Gilbert Sorrentino) and San Francisco (the "Beats" Kerouac, Corso, Ginsberg). John Ashbery, James Schuyler, Denise Levertov, and Gary Snyder are also represented... (continues on).
- Next: Published Annotated Bibliographies >>
- Last Updated: Nov 17, 2023 11:00 AM
- URL: https://libguides.luc.edu/annotatedbibliography
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APA Annotated Bibliography: Formatting Rules, Template & Examples
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An APA annotated bibliography is a list of citations for various books, articles, and other sources on a topic, formatted according to the American Psychological Association (APA) style. Each citation is followed by a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph, known as the annotation.
Writing an APA annotated bibliography can take time for early career researchers or Ph.D. students. However, if you know how to manage it, you will benefit from working on your dissertation or literature review. Undoubtedly, you will be glad you are experienced in bibliography writing.
To make you professional in creating an annotated bibliography in APA style , we gathered all you needed to know in this blog.
Here you can learn how to format an annotated bibliography in APA style 7th edition. We also share examples of annotated bibliography in APA format, which can help with your work. We hope this guide will greatly assist researchers and students writing a dissertation or thesis . Stay with StudyCrumb annotated bibliography writing service for actionable tips!
What Is an Annotated Bibliography in APA?
APA annotated bibliography is a summary of an article, book, dissertation or other scholarly text on a specific topic. APA format annotated bibliography includes a reference entry with a short explanation about the source. It may outline the key points and help readers understand if they need to read the full text.
When creating an annotated bibliography in APA style, it is important to follow the standardized formatting guidelines and provide concise yet informative annotations for each source. In a nutshell, this is a form of note organization for a specific topic. This is how you will structure your short description of the academic text you use for your work.
Purpose of APA Annotated Bibliography
Another important point is to delineate the purpose of the bibliography in APA 7th edition. Why do you need to make this list of resources with notes if you can use abstracts prepared by authors? However, this is a tricky question. You need to ensure that in a month, year, or five years you will look at your notes and paper descriptions and will remember what this text is about. That is why you need to create APA style annotated bibliography by yourself and not rely on an author or other students.
Don’t forget that we also offer proficient assistance with academic works. You can pay for college papers at StudyCrumb and get your annotated bibliography done according to all standards.
APA Annotated Bibliography Example
As you already know, APA annotation is an organized list of sources for a specific topic that includes the reference and a short summary of the text. APA style of formatting is one of the most frequently used for social science in the US. It defines specific order and punctuation for the source, author, and type of publication. What is the best way to understand how to organize your sources?
Here are some examples of annotations in APA format to make it clear how to write your own.
What Are APA Annotations?
APA annotations are brief summaries and evaluations of sources that accompany each specific citation. Annotations offer a quick overview of material used in a research paper. They serve to achieve the following goals:
- Provide a concise description of each source, including its main argument, methodology, and conclusions.
- Evaluate the relevance of literature to the research topic and identify any limitations or biases.
- Organize scholar’s thoughts and identify any gaps or inconsistencies in existing research.
- Explain how sources will be used in current research (e.g., supporting a specific argument or providing background information).
- Help readers understand the significance of sources and their contribution to the field of study.
According to APA 7th edition requirements, each annotation should be around 150-200 words long. This is enough space to offer a concise, yet, to-the-point description.
APA Annotation Example
The best way to understand the principles of creating a short description is to learn from the sample APA annotated bibliography our experts collected. It will be a difference between annotations for an article or book chapter. But in any case, your text should delineate key points and be easy to read and understand, even for people who are not in your field.
That is why we have various options to explore for any purpose. Here you can find examples to use in your writing.
How to Format an Annotated Bibliography in APA 7th Edition?
If you think creating a bibliography formatted according to APA style 7th edition is a huge challenge, you are mistaken. We are quite sure that with our guide it will be a piece of cake for anyone. Let’s have a detailed explanation of this process and go step-by-step through writing and formatting annotations.
Here is the guide on what to consider when you create an APA bibliography:
- Locate a page number in the header in the upper right corner.
- Include an APA running head for professional versions only.
- Use 1-inch margins.
- Double space the entire document.
- Justify your text to the left side.
- Center the title " Annotated Bibliography " at the top of the page.
- List a reference for each source first and format it according to APA style.
- Indent the entire annotation 0.5 inches from the left margin.
- If your annotation is more than 1 paragraph, indent the 2nd and any subsequent paragraphs an additional 0.5 inches (1 inch total).
- Do not add extra spaces between a citation and an annotation or between multiple annotations.
APA format for annotated bibliography is based on common rules. You can find a lot of resources that use AI to help you with this task. However, if you get basic principles, you will be free to do any type of annotation formatting without any help.
Also, it will be great to check the latest updates of the APA style guide. Even if you think that there is no big difference between the 7th and 6th editions. It is better to double-check before submitting your final document.
Example of Annotated Bibliography in APA Format
Creating a sample annotated bibliography APA requires knowledge of basic formatting rules. The annotation includes a reference to sources. To format it accordingly, you need to analyze the type of source, authors, and type of journal or book where it was published.
You can use our APA guide to check the requirements of formatting or look at the annotated bibliography example in APA 7th edition we have.
Sample APA Annotated Bibliography Template
Another great way to ensure that your work is done well is to use an APA style annotated bibliography template. First, choose the one that uses the same source type as you. It can be a citation of a journal article, book chapter, or online page. Next, open a Word document and insert your text, applying the same margins and spaces as in the template.
Moreover, to create an APA annotated bibliography, you also need to follow guidelines for your specific field.
Creating Citations for APA 7th Annotated Bibliography
Bibliography with annotations includes two important parts — source citation and brief work overview. After you format a text using samples and templates we share with you, you will need to check your reference.
APA citation for an annotated bibliography depends on the sources you are using. Formatting for a journal article, book chapter, the whole book, or a thesis of a dissertation will use different rules. For example, if you are citing a journal article, you need to put its authors first, the year of publication, the title of the article, dates, and pages. However, this order for citing a book will differ.
That is why we advise checking examples for each citation type.
Citation for a Book Annotation Example in APA
>> Learn more: How to Cite a Book APA
Citation for a Journal Annotation Example in APA
>> Read more: How to Cite an Article in APA
Citation for a Website Annotation Example in APA
>> Learn more: How to Cite a Website in APA
Where to Find Sources for APA 7th Edition Annotated Bibliography?
Writing APA 7th edition annotated bibliography is different from creating abstracts. Your descriptions for a bibliography should be critical or underline findings from the text that is important for your research. For an abstract, you will summarize your own article. However, for annotation, you will mainly work with other sources on your topic.
Where can you find those sources?
- University e-library
- Google Scholar
- Field research journals, like JSTOR
- Platforms like Researchgate , where you can subscribe for your topic of interest
- Subscription for scientific publications. (For example, Yale University has a newsletter with the latest publications on various topics.)
- Following authors that work in your field
- Check conferences on your topic.
In most cases, researchers work with sources all the time and use different tools to manage them. For example, it can be Zotero for organizing links. You may also add annotations to this platform and use keywords search when you need to find a source for your work.
How to Write an Annotated Bibliography in APA Format?
As mentioned before, the most important step in creating an annotated bibliography in APA style is to identify its purpose. It may summarize key findings from your source, analyze weaknesses of the research, or provide a brief description of it.
APA annotated bibliography format is guided by a Manual, which you can find in open sources. However, before you jump into formatting, you need to go through a few steps.
- Define your source. Ensure the text's validity and author's authority. It should be academic work, not fiction.
- Carefully read the text. You may start with an abstract, as it provides a research summary. But for the analytical notes, you need to go deeper into the source.
- Create a citation. Provide full information on each source including its author, publication date, title and publisher.
- Write an annotation. Choose a type of text you need for your work, and then write a 200-word summary or analysis.
- Double-check formatting requirements. Ensure that you have an appropriate type, margins, and double space.
Also, you may focus on what to include in the bibliography. Here is what you need to check:
- Information about the authors
- Audience you are writing for
- If a source is relevant to your topic
- What unique data your source has
- Research methodology of this specific work
- Key findings you need to underline for your topic.
Creating Descriptive Annotations
This is the most common type of annotation. But what does it look like in practice? Descriptive annotation summarizes your source, defines essential findings, underlines limitations, and makes a general overview of the research. You also need to include a short explanation of how this source is related to your work. It will be helpful in case you will come to these notes in years and will try to remember their relevance.
This type of text also focuses on arguments that can be useful for your studies in the same area.
Example of Descriptive Annotation in APA Style
Creating Evaluative Annotations
Evaluation or analytical APA annotated bibliography citation goes deeper into the paper and provides not only the overview but also defines weaknesses of the research. It can point to limitations or specific approaches in the methodology used for this study. Working with this type of annotation can take more time and is usually used by college students.
You need to be clear with the purpose of your writing with this type of assignment. In most cases, this annotation will be used in the future while composing the literature review section. Or you may need to come back to this paper later and know what to focus on.
Example of Evaluative Annotation in APA Format
How to Arrange an APA Annotated Bibliography?
The next important question is how to arrange an APA annotated bibliography and if you need a title page for it. There are a few approaches for arrangement — it can be sorted alphabetically by authors’ second names. It is the most common approach and a rule for the APA manual . Feel free to use our tool to arrange your sources alphabetically.
However, you may find that some bibliographies are sorted by year of publishing. It makes sense in some cases. For example, when you are looking into historical changes in theory or research.
Common Mistakes in APA Style Annotated Bibliography
There is no doubt that creating a bibliography is not a big deal. But every time students start working on this assignment, they have a bunch of similar mistakes. When you submit such assignments, every mistake in formatting or writing style can affect your final grade.
Here are common errors you may have in your bibliography:
- Errors in reference formatting. You need to follow the rules for each type of source you are using for your bibliography. In any case, it should include authors, title, publication date, and source of publishing.
- Annotation is too long. There is no need to write a few pages of summary for an article or book. You need to have only one paragraph with key points.
- Not enough research. Often students read only the abstract or introduction and try to make an annotation based on it. You need to do proper research before summarizing or analyzing specific texts.
Checklist for APA Format Annotated Bibliography
One of the common assignments for students in a master's or Ph.D. program is to write an annotated bibliography in APA style. With our guide, this task is easy to complete. You may also use our checklist before you start your assignments.
- checkbox I have understood my task and read the assignment and grading policy carefully.
- checkbox I defined the topic of my research.
- checkbox I found good sources to include in my annotation.
- checkbox I have read a text and made all necessary notes.
- checkbox I wrote references to my sources and one paragraph of a short summary or critical points for my future research.
- checkbox I checked the formatting correspondence with APA 7th edition guidelines.
- checkbox I have proofread my annotation.
Final Thoughts on APA Annotated Bibliography
If you are a student or early career researcher, there is no way you won’t write APA annotations. In most cases, it will be one of the assignments, but also it can be used to organize your reference library for future research. In this blog, we have outlined how to write an APA annotated bibliography and make it clean and clear.
We have also defined common mistakes to avoid while working with your summary and provided a checklist to help you with this kind of work. We also mentioned how to organize references and what to put on the cover page of your bibliography. Hopefully, this blog will become a valuable guide for advanced assignments and science work. Check our articles if you want to find more insights. From tips on how to write an APA abstract to guidelines on APA methods section , you are sure to find valuable resources in our blog.
If you still have troubles with writing annotations or formatting, feel free to check out our paper writing services . We provide top-quality content within a given deadline!
FAQ About Annotated Bibliographies in APA Format
1. what goes in an annotated bibliography in apa 7th edition.
APA annotated bibliography looks like a list of references. However, after each source, it includes one paragraph of annotation. It can be a short summary — descriptive annotation. Or it can be an analytical paragraph to underline key points, limitations, methodology, or findings. The 7th APA Manual defines key requirements for text formatting and references.
2. How long should an annotated bibliography be?
There are no strict rules on the length of the annotation. However, it is a short form of text, and it can not be written in a few pages. In most cases, it will be one paragraph of annotated text and a reference. The common length is 200-300 words. But shorter annotations often work better, as they synthesize the most valuable insights.
3. Is there a title page in APA annotated bibliography?
Yes, such a bibliography includes a title page that should be formatted based on the APA 7th Manual requirements. You also need to include your name, university, and course. However, some professors may have specific requirements for the cover page of your annotation. It is always a good idea to double-check your task.
4. Should an APA annotated bibliography be double-spaced?
The answer is yes. APA annotation should be written with double space and use Times New Roman or another easy-to-read type. Also, the APA style requires specific margins and formatting for the reference list. But if you are uncertain about double space, you can check the latest APA Manual or use our samples.
5. Should I indent an APA annotated bibliography?
APA annotated bibliography is the most common type of assignment. It is also often used by researchers and students to organize the sources they read or work with. It is much easier to find the article you need if you already have a short summary or one paragraph with key findings.
6. Do APA annotated bibliographies have to be in alphabetical order?
We would say that this is the common rule to have your annotations in alphabetical order. In some cases, it is possible to organize it by the year of publication. But it works only if you are writing about historical changes in a research topic. If you don’t have specific requirements, go with alphabetical order of sources for your annotations.
7. Does APA annotated bibliography have a reference page?
A lot of people think that annotated bibliography is the same as a reference list and can be used instead of it. However, it is two different types of assignments. In other words, an annotated bibliography is a combination of references and a short description of this source. That is why you do not need a separate reference list for annotation.
8. Does an annotated bibliography replace a reference page?
An annotated bibliography is a separate document, and it does not replace a reference page. It is another type of document you may need for your research. Annotations often look like a reference list, but they include not only the source citation but also its description.
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How to Write an Annotated Bibliography
Formats for mla citations.
There is a separate format for citing each of the types of content that contribute to your research. Do not be overwhelmed! Use one of the websites below, and just copy methodically from their examples until you become familiar with the process. Time consuming at first and frankly picky beyond belief, but it will get easier.
- Purdue OWL MLA Works Cited Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) is easy to navigate and very complete instructions.
What is it?
An annotated bibliography consists of two elements : the bibliography and the annotations. These two elements are blended together: each citation is followed by an annotation.
The bibliography is a list of works cited in MLA, APA or another citation style; the annotations describe responses to the content; can be long or short. Their purpose is to make clear to a reader what was in the article or book cited and in some cases, the researcher's response to it.
This response should reflect the researcher's larger purpose in composing the bibliography. A typical annotation consists of:
- a summary of the content
- relevance of the cited work to the research topic
- whether the authors of the cited work achieved their goal
- whether the material was either inadequate or original and groundbreaking, and why.
All these elements are not required however . It is up to you to decide what to include.
The form of the annotation is a piece of prose writing . It may help to think of it as a narrative of your response to the article or book you read.
Make sure you find out from your instructors what citation style they require. Set up your works cited list accordingly, and insert the annotations following each entry.
Examples in MLA Style
The citations and formatting of the bibliography should follow the current MLA Style guide , which is the 9th edition. Your instructor may prefer an earlier edition, so find out before you start.
Book by one author: (note, the author's last name is the only text that is flush left.)
Vickery, Amanda. The Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Georgian England. Yale University Press, 1998 .
The Gentleman's Daughter provides an account of the lives of genteel women - the daughters of merchants, the wives of lawyers and the sisters of gentlemen. Based on a study of the letters, diaries and account books of over 100 women from commercial, professional and gentry families, mainly in provincial England, this book provides an account of the lives of genteel women in Georgian times. It challenges the currently influential view that the period witnessed a new division of the everyday worlds of privileged men and women into the separate spheres of home and work.
Works Cited List, (bibliography)
Book by one author:
Vickery, Amanda. The Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Georgian England . Yale University Press, 1998.
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- URL: https://libguides.uml.edu/annotated_bibliography
Should I double-space between paragraphs in my annotated bibliography? Should I double-space the paragraphs themselves?
Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook . For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .
In an annotated bibliography, the annotations should generally be no more than one paragraph. If, however, you need several paragraphs, indent each one, but do not also double-space between them. If your paper is double-spaced, then double-space the paragraphs themselves.
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A Complete Guide to the MLA Annotated Bibliography
All of the information provided here, however, offers direction for students and researchers who use MLA style in their work.
Don't want to cite by hand?
A bibliography is a complete apa with the sources that were used to complete a research paper or project. Depending on the style guide you multiple, you may also see this called a Works Cited the Reference List. Each listed source, or citation , annotated information about apa with, title, publishing year, and other details that apa to credit the original authors whose work informed your research. These details also with other students and researchers find and read the source materials. There are few limitations to the types authors sources that you can include, and your list may consist of sources that range from books and academic journals to food labels and tweets. An annotated bibliography mla MLA includes a concise explanation of each listed source, known as an annotation.
Depending on the assignment, this annotation the be solely descriptive, with analytical. An abstract and the the not be confused; they differ in both their substance as well as their placement in a paper. 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 the to write a how with annotations in other formats. Before you learn how to make an annotated bibliography in MLA style, you may be wondering why you need to. Sometimes instructors want you to create and include annotated in apa bibliography either as part multiple an assignment or as an the unto itself. Understanding the purpose of this approach the your references list can help to ensure that you the all of the benefits that the process provides. As a student, this method will help fact develop multiple hone your research skills, providing bibliography with practice not only in locating sources but also in analyzing and evaluating them for relevance and quality. Your instructor will gain insight into apa research abilities, as well, allowing them to assess your work more thoroughly. If you plan to publish your research, this comprehensive bibliography to detailing your sources will provide readers and other researchers with a substantial directory of resources to evaluate for their own work. Your authors of study or instructor will guide your decision on whether to format your annotated bibliography in MLA or a different style.
This example shows multiple the entry will look the without an annotation:. Here is the same entry with an annotation. This article offers brief and clear directions for MLA formatting of a bibliography with annotations. It also multiple how writing annotations can benefit students who are tasked with researching a subject and offers instruction on the the of entries and acceptable page titles.
How to Cite
While the advice is tailored to the to a question posed by an apa, students annotated researchers may also the from the guidance that the MLA provided. If you are creating a list of references with annotations as part of an assignment, forming the written multiple of your annotation begins with identifying the format requested by authors teacher or professor. The summary of an annotated bibliography in MLA style may be written either as short, direct phrases or as complete sentences. Complete instructor will advise you of which approach you are required to take.
Your annotations should include either the main with from fact source, as well as apa topics covered, the approach used and any findings, or your critical evaluation. A standard annotation is words or approximately one paragraph. Take care not to include any unnecessary details, as the goal is to annotated each source as succinctly as authors and, in some cases, evaluate them.
Here is an MLA annotated bibliography example which contains the citation as well as a summary for the book The Elements of Eloquence:. The Multiple of Eloquence:. Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase. With 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 with broader annotated of persuasion and annotated out the role annotated the figures of multiple 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 the examination of structure to demonstrate how guide authors have been used to generate famously memorable expressions as well as how to reproduce their effects. Additional annotated bibliography examples in MLA are found further down the page.
For more information on visit web page , check out this informative site. As bibliography in the annotated the example in MLA format above, each entry should include summarization or analysis of your source. If you have been tasked with writing annotations as part the a research paper or project, authors can begin to create this element while you identify and analyze your sources. Not only will this approach help you to hone your research skills annotated identify sources that are relevant and useful for your topic, annotated you will also save time.
When done in this manner, both your citations and annotations will be nearly complete before apa begin to write the body apa the paper. Analyzing your potential sources requires a two-pronged approach that first evaluates the author, publication, and date, and then the the content. When conducting your initial assessment of the source, with some of the following questions to guide your appraisal:. Once your primary evaluation is complete, you write move on guide assessing the content itself. Consider some of these elements as you review each source:. To make it easier for you to create with bibliography page, write your annotated in the format you will be using when you the this part of the assignment. Once annotated have identified all of the sources the wish to include, you will merely need to insert what you have already multiple on the with and write your bibliography, which is explained fact the next section. Click here for additional information and a supplementary guide bibliography sample in MLA style. You can also read about the style in the news and helpful study tools the learn more and find some further resources that can help you with your coursework. The MLA Style Center bibliography the following guidance for the organization of your completed list of references:. Your instructor or school may have additional or different requirements for how you format and organize this page. If you are including an introduction, this should be added below the page authors and precede your citations and annotations. In the next section, with the find an annotated bibliography MLA example which includes the full page formatting, and will also have the opportunity to practice creating an annotated bibliography example in AUTHORS style. You can create entries for websites, books, videos, databases, dictionary authors, 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 with source. The process for this is simple. You can follow along the to practice creating one:. First, apa the style you will be using to format your paper.