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Annotated Bibliography

Instructor Resources

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a bibliography in which each entry or citation is accompanied by an annotation--a statement, ranging in length from a sentence or two to an entire paragraph, which may describe, explain, and evaluate each item. 

An Annotated Bibliography Has Multiple Components:

  1. Full citation, formatted in the specified style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.)

A paragraph that summarizes the main points.

A paragraph that evaluates the accuracy and quality of the source. 

A paragraph that explains how the information is useful or relevant to your topic.

An Annotated Bibliography is NOT...

  • A literature review, which is a critical summary of what the scientific literature says about a specific topic or question.
  • research paper where you select resources to support one side of an issue versus another.  A literature review should explain and consider all sides of an argument in order to avoid bias, and areas of agreement and disagreement should be highlighted.

Example of an Annotated Bibliography Entry

Example Entry:

  1. Author Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article in Quotations." Journal Name in Italics, vol. __, no. __, YYYY, pp. __-__. Database in italics,

This article talks about point a, point b, and point c. It summarizes the goal, problem, and solution relating to a specific project.  

This article is peer-reviewed, showing it is a quality source and accurate because it was reviewed by other experts in the same field of study.  If it is not peer-reviewed, discuss how you determined the author or sources was credible. Help can be found on the Evaluating Sources tab.

This article is useful and supports my thesis statement by showing evidence for my first supporting argument. My first supporting argument is... The supporting evidence in this article is... This paragraph should be 3-5 sentences long on average. 


What's an annotated bibliography?

Other Resources

The Online Writing Lab (or OWL) at Purdue University has some excellent online information about such bibliographies. See Purdue Owl: Annotated Bibliography. You can use this site to get an overview of what an annotated bibliography is and how to write one yourself.

The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a great handout with information on Annotated Bibliographies. See Annotated Bibliographies at UNC Chapel Hill.

Information about annotated bibliographies