What is an Annotated Bibliography?
What is a bibliography? Often called a “works cited list” or “reference list,” it’s a list, usually found at the end of your project, that displays all of the sources that you used in your research project. In this list, you may have websites, books, newspapers, magazines, or other types of sources that were used.
Each listed source, also called a “citation,” shares information about the author, title, publishing year, and other items. Citations are provided so that others can find the sources themselves.
An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents where each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 100 to 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation.
Why Have One?
Sometimes instructors want you to include an “annotated bibliography.” An annotated bibliography includes three items for each source:
- the citation
- a short summary of the source
- your personal thoughts and insights from the source
The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, location, and quality of the sources cited. Please check with your teacher or professor first to see if an annotated bibliography/works cited page is needed for your paper.
- Create the citation in MLA, APA, or another style that your teacher instructs you to cite in. Your teacher will tell you which style you should use.
- Write a few sentences summarizing the source. What was it about? What was the main point of it?
Your Personal Thoughts and Insights
- Was the source helpful for your particular assignment?
- How did it help answer your research question(s)?
- How was this source different than the other sources used?
- Did the source change your thinking on the research topic?
- How did the source affect you?
- Citations are listed in alphabetical order
- Format your paper according to the MLA or APA guidelines (include the link to the MLA and APA guideline pages)
Example (in MLA):
Example (in APA):
Did you know that you can create annotated bibliographies using EasyBib citation tools? Go to any citation form and simply click the “Add Annotation” button at the bottom. A space will open up that allows you to add your own annotation for the citation.
2. Give the annotated bibliography a title that identifies the common topic(s) that all the sources share. Note that you do not need to nor should you label this "Annotated Bibliography" since it's obvious from looking at the page that it is, in fact, an annotated bibliography.
3. Sources appear in alphabetical order by author surname or title. Note well that each entry begins with an MLA-style works cited citation. Check the format information above for more details.
4. Annotations vary in length depending on the complexity of the source; however, annotations of even the longest sources are brief, as in the Bradford example. Check the content information above for more details about what to include in your annotations.
5. Note the "inverse paragraph" format: The first line of each entry is flush left while subsequent lines are indented 1 to 1.5 inches. The right margin is not justified. The entire document is double spaced from the title to the last line.
Download a PDF version of the sample.