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Annotated Bibliographies

Introduction to Annotated Bibliographies

Always check with your professor to confirm their guidelines and preferences for any annotated bibliography assignments.

The format and content of annotated bibliographies can vary based on citation style and course requirements.

They are essentially a list of citations, each citation followed by an annotation, or a (typically short) piece of writing describing and/or evaluating the source.

Annotations can be descriptive, evaluative, and/or critical, and they are designed to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the cited source.

General Guidelines for Making an Annotated Bibliography

  1. Locate the needed sources
    • Look through more sources than you need
    • Filter out works that don't fit within your topic
    • Choose works that provide you with enough perspective
  2. Create a citation for each source
    • You may use RefWorks and should consult our Citing Sources Guide to ensure correct formatting
    • Citation formatting may vary based on the format of the source (e.g., the citation guidelines for academic journals differ from the guidelines for books or websites)
  3. Read each source
  4. Write a concise summary of the scope of the source
    • Comment on the authority of the author
    • Comment on the intended audience
    • Compare and contrast the source to your other source
    • Comment on how this source works with your topic

General Format of an Annotation

Refer to the tabs on the left for specific guidelines for each citation style.

  1. Create the source entry as you will for the Works Cited / Reference / Bibliography page
    • Follow the appropriate citation style
  2. Add an annotation to the end of the entry​
  3. Indent between 0 to 1 inch (depending on citation style) to distinguish from the hanging indent of the source entry
  4. Annotations describe or evaluate the source - follow the instructor's guidelines​
  5. Usually, not more than one paragraph per entry
    • If you do use more than one paragraph, do not skip a line between paragraphs