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Step by Step Guide on How to write an Annotated Bibliography

Step by Step Guide on How to write an Annotated Bibliography

A well-written annotated bibliography will not only give you credit for your research, but it may also help you with organizing your thoughts and ideas. If this sounds like something that would benefit you in the future, make sure to take a look at our guides on how to write an annotated bibliography. Annotated bibliographies are a great way to show off your research and demonstrate how you did it.

They also provide an easy-to-follow guide for those who want to do similar work but need some guidance along the way. This blog post will walk you through what an annotated bibliography is, as well as offer tips on creating one in APA and MLA styles. It will give you all of the information that you need on how to format your paper correctly so that it is ready for submission after being reviewed by your professor.

Annotated Bibliography Meaning

What is an annotated Bibliography? An annotated bibliography is a list of sources with short descriptions and comments. It can be used in papers, essays or research projects to show the reader where you got your information from.

A good way to think about an annotated bibliography is as a road map that allows readers to understand where you got your information from, how credible those sources are, and what they can use them for themselves if they want.

It’s important that you present your findings in a clear format so that others can easily understand them! An annotated bibliography is just what it sounds like: a list of books or articles with comments about each one following the citation. You may have noticed this type of list before – it often appears at the end of academic papers, book chapters, and even textbooks

What does an annotated Bibliography look like?

It consists of three parts:

  1. Citation
  2. Summary or paraphrase
  3. Annotation (including comments on credibility)

Steps of writing an Annotated Bibliography

  1. Select Topic and Sources:

Start by selecting your sources and narrowing down the topics that you are interested in. It can be difficult to get started on your paper when there are so many different sources available online and in print resources.

The first step is choosing which type of resource would best suit your needs, followed by narrowing down specific topics within that category and going from there. Once you find some articles relevant to what you are looking for, it is important not only to read them to get the most reliable information.

  1. Read through each source and take notes on important information such as author’s name, date published, publisher of publication etc.
  2. Once you have finished reading all of your sources go back over them and organize them into “groups” with similar themes or content in order to make it easier for yourself when compiling the list at the end of this process.
  3. Finally compile a list with all of your sources along with any other relevant information that may be needed

Annotating a Source

When you use another author’s research to support your argument, it is important to give proper credit and acknowledge his or her work by citing it with a properly formatted citation. This can be done using an Annotated Bibliography in APA Style. An Annotated Bibliography is a list of references cited at the end of an essay that provides detailed information on each source for readers to evaluate its credibility andof each source.

An Annotated Bibliography differs from a regular bibliographic citation in that it provides readers with both the location of the source (be it a book, journal article, or Web page) and an overview of its contents. An Annotated Bibliography in APA Style can be used to support any argument that is based on data cited from outside sources.

Annotated Bibliography in APA Format

There are different types of Annotated Bibliography in APA Style. There is no set format for Annotated Bibliographies, but there are a few standard formats used by many writers to create Annotated Bibliographies. Most Annotated Bibliography in APA Style have at least three parts: the citation, a summary of its content and lastly an evaluation or critique. The Annotation may be placed before or after the bibliography depending on its purpose.

In some Annotated Bibliographies, only one part is included; these are usually evaluations or critiques that serve as introductions instead of references. For example, when citing outside sources in an argumentative essay about global warming, the Annotation would be placed before the bibliography. An Annotated Bibliography in APA format is usually used to show what research has already been done regarding a certain topic. A writer may also use An Annotated Bibliography as a guide or reference when writing his/her own paper.

Annotated Bibliography in MLA Format

In MLA 8th Edition Style , follow these steps for creating an Annotated Bibliography of sources you have read:

  1. First, list each source by name in alphabetical order. Next, locate the citation within that source and write down its page number (s).
  2. Then, add the page number (s) in parenthesis before each entry in your bibliography:
  3. Then, after listing each source by name and its citation information, include a brief description of what you learned from that source. This is called “an annotation” or a “commentary.”


Annotated Bibliography Template

An Annotated Bibliography contains five sections:

  1. Title/Author
  2. Source Information (Publisher, Date Published)
  3. Evaluation (Summary and Critique)
  4. Resource Description (Page Numbers)
  5. References Cited

Annotated Bibliography Checklist and Tips

  • Begin your annotated bibliography with a strong lead sentence containing all of the most important facts about your topic. The first sentence should tell who, what, when or where is being discussed (when applicable). A good way to begin an annotated bibliography is:
  • Use appropriate parenthetical citations throughout the article and cite whether you paraphrased or cited directly each time. Examples are included below with indirect quotations followed by direct quotations that have been paraphrased in APA or MLA Format: “Furthermore,” Wilcox continues, “the international community must not allow another genocidal war to transpire anywhere else.” [Wilcox]
  • Cite sources at the end of your paper using Endnotes.
  • Double space all citations, and parenthetical citations should be flush left (no indentation). Include one period after the closing parentheses of each citation and one for the endnote number at the very end of the sentence.
  • Properly cite any direct quotations in italics or quotation marks and include page numbers. Example: “Furthermore,” Wilcox continues, “the international community must not allow another genocidal war to transpire anywhere else.” [Wilcox 55] The following are examples for citing indirect quotations from sources written in a different time format.
  • Cite various types of references within your paper: to books, periodicals/magazines, etc.
  • Cite a source that includes both author and editor in the list of works cited.
  • When citing a document or electronic resource that has no page numbers assigned by the publisher, add “n.” after first name’s initial for first note reference [i.e., (Smith n.)] and “nn.” at the end of your last note reference [i.e., (Smith nn.)].
  • Indicate range when applicable within parentheses after publication date following each citation.
  • No publication date for an article found online? In your MLA 8th Edition bibliography entry [in lieu of “Publication Date”], indicate “(Online no pagination).”
  • One last rule to know: Italics vs. quotation marks . In MLA 8th Edition Style , it is proper and acceptable practice to use italics when citing short stories, poems, essays, and non-fiction books or articles (as shown in example #1 above). However, if the material being cited from a book or journal article includes long quotations (five lines or longer), then quotation marks must be used instead. Exceptions : when the quotation is integrated into your text and there’s no need to cite a source (as shown in example #2 above where “Seventh-Grade Standards” was used as part of an argument), or if you are citing from a work originally published outside the U.S., such as Toni Morrison’s novel A Mercy , which was originally published in England, then quotation marks should be used, not italics.


Annotated Bibliography Examples

Sample 1

Annotated Bibliography Sample 1 in APA Format

Sample 2

Annotated Bibliography in APA Format Sample 2

Sample 3

Title of the Article, Author(s), Publication Information. An annotated bibliography is presented below [example].

The study “Racial Differences in Gains Made by Students Who Changed High Schools” had some limitations. The data on a control group for comparison of gains were not available and there was no information on the number of honor students who did not change schools to compare with the students studied in Ruiz’s investigation. In addition, due to its design this study could only identify associations between variables but couldn’t determine causation (i.e., if changing schools causes an increase in college enrollment or vice versa) (p. 75).

Sample 4

“In 2003 Ruiz and colleagues published their study “Racial Differences in Gains Made by Students Who Changed High Schools” which investigated whether African-American students who change high schools are more likely than those who stay at their original school to earn a college degree or enroll in a postsecondary vocational program. In this single case study they examined three African-American male honor students with family incomes over $40,000 per year who changed high schools (Ruiz, 2003).”


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Annotated Bibliography Sample pdf Format

Annotated Bibliography Example in APA Format pdf

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