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Annotated Bibliography Samples
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This handout provides information about annotated bibliographies in MLA, APA, and CMS.
Below you will find sample annotations from annotated bibliographies, each with a different research project. Remember that the annotations you include in your own bibliography should reflect your research project and/or the guidelines of your assignment.
As mentioned elsewhere in this resource, depending on the purpose of your bibliography, some annotations may summarize, some may assess or evaluate a source, and some may reflect on the source’s possible uses for the project at hand. Some annotations may address all three of these steps. Consider the purpose of your annotated bibliography and/or your instructor’s directions when deciding how much information to include in your annotations.
Please keep in mind that all your text, including the write-up beneath the citation, must be indented so that the author's last name is the only text that is flush left.
Sample MLA Annotation
Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life . Anchor Books, 1995.
Lamott's book offers honest advice on the nature of a writing life, complete with its insecurities and failures. Taking a humorous approach to the realities of being a writer, the chapters in Lamott's book are wry and anecdotal and offer advice on everything from plot development to jealousy, from perfectionism to struggling with one's own internal critic.
In the process, Lamott includes writing exercises designed to be both productive and fun. Lamott offers sane advice for those struggling with the anxieties of writing, but her main project seems to be offering the reader a reality check regarding writing, publishing, and struggling with one's own imperfect humanity in the process. Rather than a practical handbook to producing and/or publishing, this text is indispensable because of its honest perspective, its down-to-earth humor, and its encouraging approach.
Chapters in this text could easily be included in the curriculum for a writing class. Several of the chapters in Part 1 address the writing process and would serve to generate discussion on students' own drafting and revising processes. Some of the writing exercises would also be appropriate for generating classroom writing exercises. Students should find Lamott's style both engaging and enjoyable.
In the sample annotation above, the writer includes three paragraphs: a summary, an evaluation of the text, and a reflection on its applicability to his/her own research, respectively.
For information on formatting MLA citations, see our MLA 9th Edition (2021) Formatting and Style Guide .
Sample APA Annotation
Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America . Henry Holt and Company.
In this book of nonfiction based on the journalist's experiential research, Ehrenreich attempts to ascertain whether it is currently possible for an individual to live on a minimum-wage in America. Taking jobs as a waitress, a maid in a cleaning service, and a Walmart sales employee, the author summarizes and reflects on her work, her relationships with fellow workers, and her financial struggles in each situation.
An experienced journalist, Ehrenreich is aware of the limitations of her experiment and the ethical implications of her experiential research tactics and reflects on these issues in the text. The author is forthcoming about her methods and supplements her experiences with scholarly research on her places of employment, the economy, and the rising cost of living in America. Ehrenreich’s project is timely, descriptive, and well-researched.
The annotation above both summarizes and assesses the book in the citation. The first paragraph provides a brief summary of the author's project in the book, covering the main points of the work. The second paragraph points out the project’s strengths and evaluates its methods and presentation. This particular annotation does not reflect on the source’s potential importance or usefulness for this person’s own research.
For information on formatting APA citations, see our APA Formatting and Style Guide .
Sample Chicago Manual of Style Annotation
Davidson, Hilda Ellis. Roles of the Northern Goddess . London: Routledge, 1998.
Davidson's book provides a thorough examination of the major roles filled by the numerous pagan goddesses of Northern Europe in everyday life, including their roles in hunting, agriculture, domestic arts like weaving, the household, and death. The author discusses relevant archaeological evidence, patterns of symbol and ritual, and previous research. The book includes a number of black and white photographs of relevant artifacts.
This annotation includes only one paragraph, a summary of the book. It provides a concise description of the project and the book's project and its major features.
For information on formatting Chicago Style citations, see our Chicago Manual of Style resources.
- ENC Learning Commons
- Sample APA Annotation
- URL: https://libguides.enc.edu/writing_basics/annotatedbib
- Definition and Descriptions
- Evaluation Tools
- Parts of an Annotation
- Sample ASA Annotation
- Sample Chicago Annotation
- Sample MLA Annotation
American Psychological Association (APA) Annotations
Creating an annotated bibliography in APA style
The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 6th edition (APA Manual) is kept behind the iDesk on the First Floor.
This example is based on the APA style guide, but your instructor might give you other formatting instructions .
Some annotations are merely descriptive , summarizing the authors' qualifications, research methods, and arguments.
Many annotations evaluate the quality of scholarship in a book or article. You might want to consider the logic of authors' arguments, and the quality of their evidence. Your findings can be positive, negative, or mixed.
Your professor might also want you to explain why the source is relevant to your assignment.
Sample Page: APA-formatted annotated bibliography
Rules! rules! rules!
The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) states the following formatting rules:
- The text and the reference list should be double-spaced.
- Numbering starts on the title page, at the top right of the page.
- Reference list entries must have a hanging indent (to do this in Microsoft Word 2003, click Format, then Paragraph, then Special, and choose Hanging).
- There should be 1 inch (2.54 cm) margins all around (top, bottom, left, and right) on each page.
- Use Times Roman font, or a similar serif font.
- Each paragraph should be indented.
More Sample Annotations
- Annotated Bibliographies- Purdue OWL
The Memorial University of Newfoundland presents these examples of both descriptive and critical annotations .
Cornell University Library offers these instructions on preparing an annotated bibliography.
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APA Annotated Bibliography Guide With Examples
You just got the hand of bibliographies, but now your teacher is requesting an APA annotated bibliography. You can feel the sweat beading on your forehead and the panic starting to set in. First of all, don’t panic. Creating an annotated bibliography in APA format is as simple as 1, 2, 3. Well maybe not that simple, but it’s not as hard as you think. Learn the ins and outs of creating an APA 7 annotated bibliography from the citation to the annotation.
APA Annotated Bibliography Overview
So, your instructor asked you to develop an annotated bibliography in APA 7 style . But what is an APA annotated bibliography? It’s a bibliography that provides annotations about your different sources. These annotations can be summative, evaluative, or reflective. This type of bibliography may be created as its own paper, rather than attached to the end of a research paper. When creating an annotated bibliography, you find a topic to research, then look for sources on that subject.
APA Annotated Bibliography Example
See an APA annotated bibliography example in action.
How to Format an APA Annotated Bibliography
Formatting your annotated bibliography is the same as formatting an APA reference list. You use the same author-date style and place the elements in the same order. Here’s a quick rundown of the guidelines:
- Right-aligned page number
- Running header (Optional)
- One-inch margins
- Double spaced
- The title “Annotated Bibliography” centered
- Hanging indent for second and subsequent lines of the citation
- Indent annotation five spaces
Creating Your Citation in APA
After your APA annotated bibliography is formatted, you create a citation for each entry. The composition of your citation varies based on the type of source you are using. For example, a book citation in APA is different than a journal citation . Therefore, when creating your citation, use the format APA has designated for that specific source.
Composing an APA Annotation
The first step to creating your APA annotations is knowing what you want to tell your instructor about the source. You can provide a summary, evaluation, or reflection of each source. Although your instructor may provide guidelines, expect to evaluate the following aspects of each source:
- Authority of the source
- Overview of information in the source
- Value to your research
The length of your bibliographic entry depends on your instructor’s guidelines but typically is about 100-300 words.
Organizing an APA Bibliography
An annotated bibliography is organized in the same manner as the reference list. Alphabetize using the letter by letter system by the author’s last name.
The Purpose of an APA Annotated Bibliography
An APA bibliography with annotations might seem useless but it has a very important purpose. It helps you to become a better researcher and focus your APA research topic.
For example, if you decide to write an APA school paper on abnormal psychology , you may find that is too broad of a subject. You can then narrow the focus until you find the exact subject matter you want to pursue in your research. For example, narrow the larger subject of abnormal psychology to the medical theory and then how Hippocrates’ ideas contributed to the development of that theory.
Where to Find APA Research Sources
When preparing an annotated bibliography, it’s good to have a variety of primary and secondary sources . It’s easy to go online and find content from websites, online newspapers, and magazines. But, you need to focus on authoritative sources, such as government or educational websites, scholarly journals, and books. Need more help? Stop by your school or local library and ask the reference librarian — they are there to help you.
Creating the Perfect Bibliography Every Time
Creating a bibliography in APA can be difficult, but when you add annotations, it’s a whole new ball game. Make sure you are ready to play the game in the academic field by having all the rules for any APA style project at your fingertips. And if you need more help creating an annotated bibliography in any style, check out how to create an annotated bibliography with examples .
APA Format and Citations
Creating a School Project in APA Style
FAQ APA Annotated Bibliography Guide With Examples
How do you write an apa annotated bibliography.
To write an APA annotated bibliography, you need to include the title "Annotated Bibliography," the citation, and the annotation. The citation varies based on the type of sources you use, such as a book, journal, or website. The annotation includes a summary, evaluation, reflection, or all three.
Is an APA annotated bibliography double spaced?
Yes, an APA annotated bibliography is double spaced. An APA annotated bibliography follows the same formatting requirements as the APA reference list.
How long should an APA annotated bibliography be?
The length of an APA annotated bibliography varies based on the number of annotations you include. However, the annotations for each source are typically between 100-300 words.
Do you indent an APA annotated bibliography?
Yes, you indent an APA annotated bibliography. The annotation in an APA annotated bibliography is indented 5 spaces to line up with the APA citation's hanging indent.
Does an annotated bibliography have to be in alphabetical order APA?
Yes, an APA annotated bibliography is listed in alphabetical order. An APA annotated bibliography follows the same formatting guidelines as the APA reference list, including the rules for headers, titles, margins, spacing, and organization in alphabetical order.
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APA Journal Citation Examples
Citing multiple sources in apa with the same author, apa anthology citation examples, apa citations for a thesis or dissertation.
Creating an Annotated Bibliography in APA Style
A bibliography is a list of source material, cited in whatever citation style you're required to use in a specific course.
An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation.
Put the two together and you have an Annotated Bibliography !
An annotated bibliography is an organizational tool . an annotated bibliography....
- Is an alphabetical list of all of your source material
- Includes sources you may or may not use in your research
- Summarizes each resource so you can remember what it's about
- Can include any type of resource unless specified in the assignment instructions (For an overview of the types of resources you can find through our library, view our description of resource types on our Evaluating Sources guide .)
Why must you do an Annotated Bibliography?
- If you're utilizing print resources through the library, you may not be able to renew items. How will you remember what the resource was about if you have to send it back?
- If you're utilizing electronic resources, nothing online is permanent. How will you find the resource again if it disappears?
- In larger projects, every resource starts to look the same. An Annotated Bibliography can save you time by reminding you of what you've already found.
What types of resources are used?
An Annotated Bibliography can include any type of resource unless otherwise specified by the assignment. This can include (but is not limited to):
- Scholarly materials
- Government documents
Annotated Bibliographies can be a great resource for students before they write other types of assignments, like literature reviews .
There are TWO PARTS to each entry in an Annotated Bibliography. They are:
- The citation of the resource , in whatever citation style you're required to use.
- The annotation describing the contents of the resource and how it may or may not contribute to your research.
Be sure to carefully read over the assignment instructions when you're asked to compose an Annotated Bibliography, and reach out to your professor with any questions!
Consult your course style guide to confirm the accuracy of your citation.
You can also...
- View our guide for APA Style Help .
- Consult resources like Academic Writer or Grammarly .
Focus on key areas of a text to learn enough so that you can write a strong annotation. This includes:
- Abstracts, prefaces, and summaries
- Paragraph headings
- Charts/graphs/images and their captions
- Introduction paragraph(s)
- Conclusion paragraph(s)
These areas will provide you with enough information to determine the topic, arguments, and conclusions drawn from any research presented.
A strong annotation will have three main parts:
Length requirements can vary from a few sentences to a single paragraph or a full page. Be sure to verify length requirements with your professor and/or through the assignment instructions.
When writing the summary, ask yourself:
- What topics are covered in the resource?
- What are the main arguments?
- What are the main conclusions drawn from the resource?
When writing the assessment, ask yourself:
- Is the source useful?
- How does it compare to your other resources?
- Is there bias present?
- Is the source reliable?
Our guide for Evaluating Your Sources can help you assess your research material.
When writing the reflection, ask yourself:
- How does the source fit into your research?
- How might the source support your argument?
- Did the source change your mind about the topic?
Sample APA Style citation with annotation:
Bell, C., & Holder, M. (2019, January/February). The Interrelationship between Race, Social Norms, and Dietary Behaviors among College-attending
Women. American Journal of Health Behavior , 43 (1), 23-36.
This article examines a study conducted to compare racial identity and dietary habits of women on college campuses. The findings of the
study found that women with perceived differences and social/family norms were more likely to develop unhealthy dietary habits in college,
most specifically related to fruit and vegetable consumption. This resource is useful because it examines self-perception of race and how that
can impact behavior in ways that influence one's health in the future.
View a full example in APA Style:
- Annotated Bibliography Example- APA Style A full Annotated Bibliography formatted in APA Style. Users, please verify that formatting matches your course style guide's requirements.
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Annotated Bibliography Template
The APA Publication Manual does not include an annotated bibliography format. We have included here a template for an annotated bibliography that uses an APA formatted title page and reference entry. It includes APA formatted margins, page numbers, and font style & size. Your professor may have different requirements for your assignment, so be sure to check in Canvas before using this format.
- Annotated Bibliography Template (Word)
- Annotated Bibliography Template (Pages)
What is an Annotated Bibliography?
An annotated bibliography is a list of sources (bibliography) that includes comments about each source. These comments are called annotations . Annotated bibliographies are often a starting point for research papers.
Steps to Creating an Annotated Bibliography
- Find sources related to your topic (check with your instructor to confirm which types of sources are acceptable for the assignment)
- Critically read and evaluate sources
- Create the proper APA citation
- Below the citation, write your annotation
An annotation (found below each citation) typically includes*:
- An evaluation of the work - the value of the evidence, the logic of arguments, etc.
- A description of the arguments or findings in the source
- The qualifications/credibility of the author(s) or publishing source
- How the source will support your argument or thesis
*Check with your instructors to confirm what information they require in an annotation.
The following example uses the APA format for a journal citation.
Brien, F., Simons-Morton, B., Chaurasia, A., Luk, J., Haynie, D., & Liu, D. (2018). Post-high school changes in tobacco and cannabis use in the United States. Substance Use & Misuse, 53 (1), 26–35. https://doi.org/ 10.1080/10826084.2017.1322983 The researchers use data from the NEXT Generation Health Study (NEXT) to examine how different social and environmental factors impact the use of tobacco and cannabis by recent high school graduates. Based on longitudinal analysis, the study finds that tobacco and cannabis use is strongly associated with previous use. The researchers also found that college students are less likely to use tobacco when compared to non-students. The researchers suggest that anti-smoking campaigns and university policies reduce cigarette use by college students.
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APA Guide - 7th Edition: Annotated Bibliographies
- What's New in the 7th Edition?
- Paper Formatting
- Reference Components
- In-Text Citations
- Book Examples
- Article Examples
- Media Examples
- Internet Resources Examples
- Other Examples
- Annotated Bibliographies
An annotated bibliography is a type of student paper in which reference list entries are followed by short descriptions of the work, called annotations. Annotated bibliographies can also constitute one element of a research paper in fields that require bibliographies rather than reference lists. Most APA Style guidelines are applicable to annotated bibliographies (margins, font, line spacing, etc.).
In general, it is not necessary to cite the work being annotated in the annotations because the origin of the information is clear through context. However, do include in-text citations if you refer to multiple works within an annotation to clarify the source.
Examples & Templates
- Annotated Bibliography Sample from APA Manual
- Annotated Bib Template_Includes Title Page
- How to Create an Annotated Bibliography
What is an Annotated Bibliography?
What is an Annotated Bibliography? by OWLPurdue on YouTube
- Purdue OWL Definitions, formatting, examples, & samples.
- Writing an Annotated Bibliography General guide from the University of Guelph. Overview and examples.
An evaluative annotation includes a summary but also critically assesses the work for accuracy, relevance, and quality. The focus is on description and evaluation.
They can help you:
- learn about your topic
- develop a thesis statement
- decide if a specific source will be useful for your assignment
- determine if there is enough valid information available to complete your project.
Basic Writing & Format Tips
Basic Writing and Format Tips:
- Start with the same format as a regular References list.
- After each citation, the annotation is indented two spaces from the left margin as a block.
- Each annotation should be one paragraph, between three to six sentences long (about 150-200 words).
- All lines should be double-spaced. Do not add an extra line between the citations.
- If your list of citations is especially long, you can organize it by topic.
- Try to be objective, and give explanations if you state any opinions.
- Use the third person (e.g., he, she, the author) instead of the first person (e.g., I, my, me).
An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation. Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or critical evaluation of each of the sources. The annotated bibliography looks like a References page but includes an annotation after each full citation.
Annotated bibliographies can be part of a larger research project, or can be a stand-alone report in itself.
Depending on your project or the assignment, your annotations may do one or more of the following:
- Some annotations merely summarize the source. What are the main arguments? What topics are covered? The length of your annotations will determine how detailed your summary is. Who wrote the document? When and where was the document written?
- After summarizing a source, it may be helpful to evaluate it. Is it a useful source? How does it compare with other soruces in your biliography? What is the goal of this source?
- Once you've summarized and assessed a source, ask yourself how it fits into your research. How does it help shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project?
Your annotated bibliography may include some of these, all of these, or even others. If you're doing this for a class, you should get specific guidelines from your instructor.
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How to Write an Annotated Bibliography - APA Style (7th Edition)
What is an annotation, how is an annotation different from an abstract, what is an annotated bibliography, types of annotated bibliographies, descriptive or informative, analytical or critical, to get started.
An annotation is more than just a brief summary of an article, book, web site, or other type of publication. An annotation should give enough information to make a reader decide whether to read the complete work. In other words, if the reader were exploring the same topic as you, is this material useful and if so, why?
While an abstract also summarizes an article, book, web site, or other type of publication, it is purely descriptive. Although annotations can be descriptive, they also include distinctive features about an item. Annotations can be evaluative and critical as we will see when we look at the two major types of annotations.
An annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources (like a reference list). It differs from a straightforward bibliography in that each reference is followed by a paragraph length annotation, usually 100–200 words in length.
Depending on the assignment, an annotated bibliography might have different purposes:
- Provide a literature review on a particular subject
- Help to formulate a thesis on a subject
- Demonstrate the research you have performed on a particular subject
- Provide examples of major sources of information available on a topic
- Describe items that other researchers may find of interest on a topic
There are two major types of annotated bibliographies:
A descriptive or informative annotated bibliography describes or summarizes a source as does an abstract; it describes why the source is useful for researching a particular topic or question and its distinctive features. In addition, it describes the author's main arguments and conclusions without evaluating what the author says or concludes.
McKinnon, A. (2019). Lessons learned in year one of business. Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting , 30 (4), 26–28. This article describes some of the difficulties many nurses experience when transitioning from nursing to a legal nurse consulting business. Pointing out issues of work-life balance, as well as the differences of working for someone else versus working for yourself, the author offers their personal experience as a learning tool. The process of becoming an entrepreneur is not often discussed in relation to nursing, and rarely delves into only the first year of starting a new business. Time management, maintaining an existing job, decision-making, and knowing yourself in order to market yourself are discussed with some detail. The author goes on to describe how important both the nursing professional community will be to a new business, and the importance of mentorship as both the mentee and mentor in individual success that can be found through professional connections. The article’s focus on practical advice for nurses seeking to start their own business does not detract from the advice about universal struggles of entrepreneurship makes this an article of interest to a wide-ranging audience.
An analytical or critical annotation not only summarizes the material, it analyzes what is being said. It examines the strengths and weaknesses of what is presented as well as describing the applicability of the author's conclusions to the research being conducted.
Analytical or critical annotations will most likely be required when writing for a college-level course.
McKinnon, A. (2019). Lessons learned in year one of business. Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting , 30 (4), 26–28. This article describes some of the difficulty many nurses experience when transitioning from nursing to a nurse consulting business. While the article focuses on issues of work-life balance, the differences of working for someone else versus working for yourself, marketing, and other business issues the author’s offer of only their personal experience is brief with few or no alternative solutions provided. There is no mention throughout the article of making use of other research about starting a new business and being successful. While relying on the anecdotal advice for their list of issues, the author does reference other business resources such as the Small Business Administration to help with business planning and professional organizations that can help with mentorships. The article is a good resource for those wanting to start their own legal nurse consulting business, a good first advice article even. However, entrepreneurs should also use more business research studies focused on starting a new business, with strategies against known or expected pitfalls and issues new businesses face, and for help on topics the author did not touch in this abbreviated list of lessons learned.
Now you are ready to begin writing your own annotated bibliography.
- Choose your sources - Before writing your annotated bibliography, you must choose your sources. This involves doing research much like for any other project. Locate records to materials that may apply to your topic.
- Review the items - Then review the actual items and choose those that provide a wide variety of perspectives on your topic. Article abstracts are helpful in this process.
- The purpose of the work
- A summary of its content
- Information about the author(s)
- For what type of audience the work is written
- Its relevance to the topic
- Any special or unique features about the material
- Research methodology
- The strengths, weaknesses or biases in the material
Annotated bibliographies may be arranged alphabetically or chronologically, check with your instructor to see what he or she prefers.
Please see the APA Examples page for more information on citing in APA style.
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For information on formatting MLA citations, see our MLA 9th Edition (2021) Formatting and Style Guide. Sample APA Annotation. Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickel and
American Psychological Association (APA) Annotations · The text and the reference list should be double-spaced. · Numbering starts on the title
How to Format an APA Annotated Bibliography · Right-aligned page number · Running header (Optional) · One-inch margins · Double spaced · The title “Annotated
Is an alphabetical list of all of your source material · Includes sources you may or may not use in your research · Summarizes each resource so
Steps to Creating an Annotated Bibliography · Find sources related to your topic (check with your instructor to confirm which types of sources are acceptable for
Start with the same format as a regular References list. · After each citation, the annotation is indented two spaces from the left margin as a
We have taken the example given online at the OWL at Purdue*as the basis for formatting. ... The annotated bibliography consists of two elements.
PDF DOWNLOAD - ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHYhttps://www.mysmartstudent.com/apa-resource-library-1-1 SMART STUDENT FREE WRITING
An annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources (like a reference list). It differs from a straightforward bibliography in that each reference is
NOTE: This example includes an instance of citation within an annotation. You can also see in this example that if the bibliography itself is only one line, you