Skip to Main Content

Communication Sciences & Disorders


An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and other documents.  Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation.  The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

Annotations vs. Abstracts

Abstracts are the purely descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles.  Annotations are descriptive and critical;  they may describe the author's point of view, authority, or clarity, and appropriateness of expression.

The Process

Creating an annotated bibliography calls for the application of a variety of intellectual skills:  concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research.

First, locate and record citations to books, articles, and other documents that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic.  Briefly examine and review the actual items.  Then choose those works that provide a variety of perspectives on your topic.

Cite the book, article, or other documents, using the APA 7th Citation Style.

Write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article.  Include one or more sentences that (a) evaluate the authority or background of the author, (b) comment on the intended audience, (c) compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or (d) explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic.


  • Format and order references in alphabetical order.
  • Each annotation should be a new paragraph below its reference entry.
  • Indent the entire annotation 0.5 inches from the left margin, as you would a block quotation, except the first line of the reference.
  • If there are multiple paragraphs, indent the first line of the second paragraph an additional 0.5 inches.
  • All lines should be double-spaced.  Do not add extra lines between the citations.
  • Use the third person point of view.
  • Try to be objective, and give explanations if you give opinions.
  • The title page follows the same rules as any APA Citation Style 7th edition research paper.

Sample Annotated Bibliography Journal Article Entry

The following example uses APA style (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition, 2019) for the journal article citation:

Waite, L., Goldschneider, F., & Witsberger, C. (1986). Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional family orientations among young adults.  American Sociological Review, 51, 541-554.
The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.


Olin Library Reference
Research & Learning Services
                      Cornell University Library