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Annotated Bibliographies  

Last Updated: Mar 6, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
Montante Family Library Subject Guide Print Page

Citing Sources

For APA style, as well as MLA, AMA and Chicago styles, we've got you covered:

Online Resources

Check out these other excellent guides for preparing annotated bibliographies, inlcuding more detailed instructions and examples:


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Annotated Bibliographies

(Annotated = notes) + (Bibliography = list of sources)

Basically, an "annotated bibliography" is a list of citations that also includes notes and comments about each source.  Bibliographies provide organized lists of citations to help the reader locate the sources, and the addition of the annotation gives enough critical information to provide a foundation for further research.

The source citations are formatted according to a citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc. - link to citation guides at left) and the annotation that follows is a brief (less than 150 words) summary, critical judgment, and commentary (see specific components below).

Primary purposes of the annotated bibliography:

  • Review the literature published on a particular subject
  • Evaluate and describe the scope and quality of the information - relevancy, accuracy, historical context, etc.
  • Reflect on the usefulness of each source and how it fits into your research

Annotation Example (with APA reference)

The citation goes first and is followed by the annotation. Make sure that you follow your instructor’s preferred citation style.

In the sample below, each element is numbered (see Key):

See more examples from Online Resources (at left)


Annotation Inspiration

What might you include in your annotation?

The annotation may address some of the following questions:

  • What is the source about?  What topics are covered? What is the scope?
  • What are the main arguments?  What is the point of this book or article?  What are the aims or goals?
  • What are the author's background, expertise, or academic credentials?  Is the author biased?  Who is the intended audience?
  • Are there any shortcomings or limitations?
  • How is the information organized?  Are there any special features (i.e., good index, appendices, diagrams)?
  • How useful is this source?  What is the value or significance to the topic under consideration?
  • What is your own impression of the work?  How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? How does it fit into your research?  How does it help you shape your argument?

*Note: Read your assignment instructions or consult with your instructor for specifics

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This guide simply offers background, examples, and some online resources for writing an annotated bibliography.

Make sure to follow specific directions given by your instructor, which may differ from the information and examples in this guide.


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