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Q. What’s the difference between a regular bibliography and an annotated bibliography?

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Answered By: Jason Puckett Last Updated: Aug 12, 2021     Views: 4428

A bibliography (sometimes called "works cited" or "references") is a list of  citations  you have gathered while researching a topic.  These citations are created from your sources and provide your reader   with important information on your sources, such as author, title, and publication of the source.  

An annotated bibliography  is everything above, but also includes a paragraph  of brief information  below each citation.  Ask your instructor for specifics o n  what they want included in the annotated bibliography  as sometimes it can differ , but usually  you want to  include information that  summarizes  the source,  discusses  why you’ve chosen  that specific source , and  explains  how  that source   is important to  your  research .  

For more details on annotated bibliographies, visit  Purdue Owl’s Writing Lab and their page on annotated bibliographies . They will also include  an example , if you’d like to see one.  

For more help,  ask a librarian .

Reviewed 8/12/2021 bgw

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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, website, 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, website, 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.

For example:

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.

  • Last Updated: Aug 8, 2023 11:27 AM
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How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography: The Annotated Bibliography

  • The Annotated Bibliography
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Explanation, Process, Directions, and Examples

What is an annotated bibliography.

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and 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 or in periodical indexes. 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, periodicals, and 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 document using the appropriate 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.

Critically Appraising the Book, Article, or Document

For guidance in critically appraising and analyzing the sources for your bibliography, see How to Critically Analyze Information Sources . For information on the author's background and views, ask at the reference desk for help finding appropriate biographical reference materials and book review sources.

Choosing the Correct Citation Style

Check with your instructor to find out which style is preferred for your class. Online citation guides for both the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) styles are linked from the Library's Citation Management page .

Sample Annotated Bibliography Entries

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

Waite, L., Goldschneider, F., & Witsberger, C. (1986). Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional family orientations among young adults. American Sociological Review, 51 (4), 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.

This example uses MLA style ( MLA Handbook , 9th edition, 2021) for the journal citation. For additional annotation guidance from MLA, see 5.132: Annotated Bibliographies .

Waite, Linda J., et al. "Nonfamily Living and the Erosion of Traditional Family Orientations Among Young Adults." American Sociological Review, vol. 51, no. 4, 1986, pp. 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.

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annotated bibliography vs references

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Creating an Annotated Bibliography

  • What is an Annotated Bibliography

Writing an Annotation

Formatting an annotated bibliography.

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  • Creating an Annotated Bibliography Video

Components of an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is an APA reference list that includes a brief summary and analysis -- the annotation --  under the reference entry.  

An annotated bibliography includes:

  • APA Title page
  • Pages are numbered beginning with title page
  • References centered and bolded at top of page
  • Entries listed in alphabetical order
  • Annotations begin under its associated reference
  • Annotations are indented 0.5 inches from the left margin
  • The entire document is double spaced; no extra space between entries

Example of an annotated bibliography entry:

annotated bibliography vs references

An  an n otated bibliography is composed of the full APA reference for a source followed by notes and commentary about that so urce. T he word  “annotate” means “critical or explanatory notes” and the word “bibliography” means “a list of sources”.  Annotation s are meant to be critical in addition to being descriptive.

Annotations are generally between five to seven sentences in length and appear directly under the APA reference.  The entire annotation is indented 0.5 inch from the left margin and lines up with the hanging indent of the APA reference.

Use the question prompts below as a guide when writing annotations:

• 2 to 4 sentences to  summarize   the main idea(s) of the source.

     - What are the main arguments?

     - What is the point of this book/article?

     - What topics are covered?

• 1 or 2 sentences to  assess   and  evaluate   the source.

     - How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography?

     - Is this information reliable? current?

     - Is the author credible? have the background to write on this topic?

     - Is the source objective or biased?

• 1 or 2 sentences to  reflect   on the source.

     - Was this source helpful to you?

     - How can you use this source for your research project?

     - Has it changed how you think about your topic?

  • a title page, and
  • the annotated bibliography which begins on its own page with the word References bolded and centered at the top of the page.

Each entry begins with an APA reference for the resource with the annotation appearing directly beneath. The entire annotation is indented 0.5 inches from the left margin.

Entries are listed in alphabetical order. The entire document is typed on one of the six approved font styles and sizes and is double spaced.  There is no additional space between entires.

Consider using Academic Writer or NoodleTools to create and format your annotated bibliography.  

annotated bibliography vs references

APA Citation Style Resources and Tools

Apa academic writer.

Use the tools in the  References tab to create APA references for the resources in your annotated bibliography.  The form includes a text box for your annotation.  You can create your title page and assemble your annotated bibliography in the Write tab in this authoritative resource.

  • APA Academic Writer This link opens in a new window Formerly APA Style Central, Academic Writer is a digital library of quick APA guides and tutorials: - Learn - view videos and tutorials, test your APA knowledge with quizzes, and view sample papers, references, tables, and figures. - Reference - view tutorials, search APA dictionaries, develop research ideas, plan and track your research, and manage your references. - Write - use templates to write papers (includes step-by-step help), and work on saved papers. (Must create a personal account to use.)

Create and format your annotated bibliography in NoodleTools .  Find information on how to create an account, create APA references, and creating and formatting an annotated bibliography in the NoodleTools Guide.

This video below provides an overview of how to create an annotated bibliography including evaluating resources, writing annotations, creating APA references, and formatting the final document in the APA style. 

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What is an Annotated Bibliography & Why Write One

Mla annotated bibliography example, apa annotated bibliography example, chicago style annotated bibliography example.

  • How to Create an Attribution

What is an Annotated Bibliography

A bibliograph y is a list of sources (books, journals, Web sites, periodicals, etc.) you used for researching your topic. Bibliographies are called "Works Cited" (in MLA Style) and "References" (in APA Style)  Your bibliography will include the bibliographic information (i.e., the author, title, publisher, etc.) that your reader would need to identify and locate the original source you're citing.

An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation of a source.

Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes your citation followed by a summary and/or evaluation of each of your sources. Depending on your project or the assignment, your annotations may do one or more of the following.

  • Summarize: Some annotations merely summarize the source. What are the main arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say?
  • Assess: After summarizing a source, it may be helpful to evaluate it. Is it a useful source? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source?
  • Reflect: Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic?

Your annotated bibliography may include some of these, all of these, or even others.

Be sure to always follow the specific instructions your instructor gives you.

Why Write an Annotated Bibliography

Every good research paper is an argument. The purpose of research is to state and support a thesis. So, a very important part of research is developing a thesis that is debatable, interesting, and current. Writing an annotated bibliography can help you gain a good perspective on what is being said about your topic. By reading and responding to a variety of sources on a topic, you'll start to see what the issues are, what people are arguing about, and you'll then be able to develop your own point of view.

Writing an annotated bibliography is excellent preparation for a research project. Just collecting sources for a bibliography is useful, but when you have to write annotations for each source, you're forced to read each source more carefully. You begin to read more critically instead of just collecting information.

MLA tells us that, you should cite a source in an annotated bibliography just as you would in a list of works cited and then append an annotation to the end of the entry. Annotations describe and/or evaluate sources. Further, annotations should not rehash minor details, cite evidence, quote the author, or recount steps in an argument. Writing an effective annotation requires reading the work, understanding its aims, and clearly summarizing them.

To learn more about annotated bibliographies click on the link below from Purdue OWL

Sample annotated bibliography using mla.

  • MLA 9 Annotated Bibliography Sample

Annotated Bibliography Template

You may also want to use the template below. Just type over the words in the template with your own information, citations, and annotations.

  • MLA, 9th ed. Annotated Bibliography Template

Formatting Rules

  • Order your references in alphabetical order as you would in your References.
  • Each annotation should be a new paragraph below its reference entry. Indent the entire annotation 0.5 in. from the left margin.
  • Do not indent the first line of the annotation.
  • If the annotation spans multiple paragraphs, indent the first line of the second and any subsequent paragraphs an additional 0.5 in.

Because your teachers generally set all the other requirements for your annotated bibliography, ask your teacher for specific instructions. For example, ask if your annotated bibliography should include a title page.  

Sample Annotated Bibliography Using APA Style

  • Sample APA Annotated Bibliography
  • Order your references in alphabetical order as you would in your Bibliography.

Because your teachers generally set all the other requirements for your annotated bibliography, ask your teacher for specific instructions. For example, ask if your annotated bibliography should include a title page.

Sample Annotated Bibliography Using Chicago Style

Example of Annotated Bibliography Using Chicago Style

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Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical International 4.0 License .

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Annotated Bibliographies

What this handout is about.

This handout will explain why annotated bibliographies are useful for researchers, provide an explanation of what constitutes an annotation, describe various types of annotations and styles for writing them, and offer multiple examples of annotated bibliographies in the MLA, APA, and CBE/CSE styles of citation.

Introduction

Welcome to the wonderful world of annotated bibliographies! You’re probably already familiar with the need to provide bibliographies, reference pages, and works cited lists to credit your sources when you do a research paper. An annotated bibliography includes descriptions and explanations of your listed sources beyond the basic citation information you usually provide.

Why do an annotated bibliography?

One of the reasons behind citing sources and compiling a general bibliography is so that you can prove you have done some valid research to back up your argument and claims. Readers can refer to a citation in your bibliography and then go look up the material themselves. When inspired by your text or your argument, interested researchers can access your resources. They may wish to double check a claim or interpretation you’ve made, or they may simply wish to continue researching according to their interests. But think about it: even though a bibliography provides a list of research sources of all types that includes publishing information, how much does that really tell a researcher or reader about the sources themselves?

An annotated bibliography provides specific information about each source you have used. As a researcher, you have become an expert on your topic: you have the ability to explain the content of your sources, assess their usefulness, and share this information with others who may be less familiar with them. Think of your paper as part of a conversation with people interested in the same things you are; the annotated bibliography allows you to tell readers what to check out, what might be worth checking out in some situations, and what might not be worth spending the time on. It’s kind of like providing a list of good movies for your classmates to watch and then going over the list with them, telling them why this movie is better than that one or why one student in your class might like a particular movie better than another student would. You want to give your audience enough information to understand basically what the movies are about and to make an informed decision about where to spend their money based on their interests.

What does an annotated bibliography do?

A good annotated bibliography:

  • encourages you to think critically about the content of the works you are using, their place within a field of study, and their relation to your own research and ideas.
  • proves you have read and understand your sources.
  • establishes your work as a valid source and you as a competent researcher.
  • situates your study and topic in a continuing professional conversation.
  • provides a way for others to decide whether a source will be helpful to their research if they read it.
  • could help interested researchers determine whether they are interested in a topic by providing background information and an idea of the kind of work going on in a field.

What elements might an annotation include?

  • Bibliography according to the appropriate citation style (MLA, APA, CBE/CSE, etc.).
  • Explanation of main points and/or purpose of the work—basically, its thesis—which shows among other things that you have read and thoroughly understand the source.
  • Verification or critique of the authority or qualifications of the author.
  • Comments on the worth, effectiveness, and usefulness of the work in terms of both the topic being researched and/or your own research project.
  • The point of view or perspective from which the work was written. For instance, you may note whether the author seemed to have particular biases or was trying to reach a particular audience.
  • Relevant links to other work done in the area, like related sources, possibly including a comparison with some of those already on your list. You may want to establish connections to other aspects of the same argument or opposing views.

The first four elements above are usually a necessary part of the annotated bibliography. Points 5 and 6 may involve a little more analysis of the source, but you may include them in other kinds of annotations besides evaluative ones. Depending on the type of annotation you use, which this handout will address in the next section, there may be additional kinds of information that you will need to include.

For more extensive research papers (probably ten pages or more), you often see resource materials grouped into sub-headed sections based on content, but this probably will not be necessary for the kinds of assignments you’ll be working on. For longer papers, ask your instructor about her preferences concerning annotated bibliographies.

Did you know that annotations have categories and styles?

Decisions, decisions.

As you go through this handout, you’ll see that, before you start, you’ll need to make several decisions about your annotations: citation format, type of annotation, and writing style for the annotation.

First of all, you’ll need to decide which kind of citation format is appropriate to the paper and its sources, for instance, MLA or APA. This may influence the format of the annotations and bibliography. Typically, bibliographies should be double-spaced and use normal margins (you may want to check with your instructor, since he may have a different style he wants you to follow).

MLA (Modern Language Association)

See the UNC Libraries citation tutorial for basic MLA bibliography formatting and rules.

  • MLA documentation is generally used for disciplines in the humanities, such as English, languages, film, and cultural studies or other theoretical studies. These annotations are often summary or analytical annotations.
  • Title your annotated bibliography “Annotated Bibliography” or “Annotated List of Works Cited.”
  • Following MLA format, use a hanging indent for your bibliographic information. This means the first line is not indented and all the other lines are indented four spaces (you may ask your instructor if it’s okay to tab over instead of using four spaces).
  • Begin your annotation immediately after the bibliographic information of the source ends; don’t skip a line down unless you have been told to do so by your instructor.

APA (American Psychological Association)

See the UNC Libraries citation tutorial for basic APA bibliography formatting and rules.

  • Natural and social sciences, such as psychology, nursing, sociology, and social work, use APA documentation. It is also used in economics, business, and criminology. These annotations are often succinct summaries.
  • Annotated bibliographies for APA format do not require a special title. Use the usual “References” designation.
  • Like MLA, APA uses a hanging indent: the first line is set flush with the left margin, and all other lines are indented four spaces (you may ask your instructor if it’s okay to tab over instead of using four spaces).
  • After the bibliographic citation, drop down to the next line to begin the annotation, but don’t skip an extra line.
  • The entire annotation is indented an additional two spaces, so that means each of its lines will be six spaces from the margin (if your instructor has said that it’s okay to tab over instead of using the four spaces rule, indent the annotation two more spaces in from that point).

CBE (Council of Biology Editors)/CSE (Council of Science Editors)

See the UNC Libraries citation tutorial for basic CBE/CSE bibliography formatting and rules.

  • CBE/CSE documentation is used by the plant sciences, zoology, microbiology, and many of the medical sciences.
  • Annotated bibliographies for CBE/CSE format do not require a special title. Use the usual “References,” “Cited References,” or “Literature Cited,” and set it flush with the left margin.
  • Bibliographies for CSE in general are in a slightly smaller font than the rest of the paper.
  • When using the name-year system, as in MLA and APA, the first line of each entry is set flush with the left margin, and all subsequent lines, including the annotation, are indented three or four spaces.
  • When using the citation-sequence method, each entry begins two spaces after the number, and every line, including the annotation, will be indented to match the beginning of the entry, or may be slightly further indented, as in the case of journals.
  • After the bibliographic citation, drop down to the next line to begin the annotation, but don’t skip an extra line. The entire annotation follows the indentation of the bibliographic entry, whether it’s N-Y or C-S format.
  • Annotations in CBE/CSE are generally a smaller font size than the rest of the bibliographic information.

After choosing a documentation format, you’ll choose from a variety of annotation categories presented in the following section. Each type of annotation highlights a particular approach to presenting a source to a reader. For instance, an annotation could provide a summary of the source only, or it could also provide some additional evaluation of that material.

In addition to making choices related to the content of the annotation, you’ll also need to choose a style of writing—for instance, telescopic versus paragraph form. Your writing style isn’t dictated by the content of your annotation. Writing style simply refers to the way you’ve chosen to convey written information. A discussion of writing style follows the section on annotation types.

Types of annotations

As you now know, one annotation does not fit all purposes! There are different kinds of annotations, depending on what might be most important for your reader to learn about a source. Your assignments will usually make it clear which citation format you need to use, but they may not always specify which type of annotation to employ. In that case, you’ll either need to pick your instructor’s brain a little to see what she wants or use clue words from the assignment itself to make a decision. For instance, the assignment may tell you that your annotative bibliography should give evidence proving an analytical understanding of the sources you’ve used. The word analytical clues you in to the idea that you must evaluate the sources you’re working with and provide some kind of critique.

Summary annotations

There are two kinds of summarizing annotations, informative and indicative.

Summarizing annotations in general have a couple of defining features:

  • They sum up the content of the source, as a book report might.
  • They give an overview of the arguments and proofs/evidence addressed in the work and note the resulting conclusion.
  • They do not judge the work they are discussing. Leave that to the critical/evaluative annotations.
  • When appropriate, they describe the author’s methodology or approach to material. For instance, you might mention if the source is an ethnography or if the author employs a particular kind of theory.

Informative annotation

Informative annotations sometimes read like straight summaries of the source material, but they often spend a little more time summarizing relevant information about the author or the work itself.

Indicative annotation

Indicative annotation is the second type of summary annotation, but it does not attempt to include actual information from the argument itself. Instead, it gives general information about what kinds of questions or issues are addressed by the work. This sometimes includes the use of chapter titles.

Critical/evaluative

Evaluative annotations don’t just summarize. In addition to tackling the points addressed in summary annotations, evaluative annotations:

  • evaluate the source or author critically (biases, lack of evidence, objective, etc.).
  • show how the work may or may not be useful for a particular field of study or audience.
  • explain how researching this material assisted your own project.

Combination

An annotated bibliography may combine elements of all the types. In fact, most of them fall into this category: a little summarizing and describing, a little evaluation.

Writing style

Ok, next! So what does it mean to use different writing styles as opposed to different kinds of content? Content is what belongs in the annotation, and style is the way you write it up. First, choose which content type you need to compose, and then choose the style you’re going to use to write it

This kind of annotated bibliography is a study in succinctness. It uses a minimalist treatment of both information and sentence structure, without sacrificing clarity. Warning: this kind of writing can be harder than you might think.

Don’t skimp on this kind of annotated bibliography. If your instructor has asked for paragraph form, it likely means that you’ll need to include several elements in the annotation, or that she expects a more in-depth description or evaluation, for instance. Make sure to provide a full paragraph of discussion for each work.

As you can see now, bibliographies and annotations are really a series of organized steps. They require meticulous attention, but in the end, you’ve got an entire testimony to all the research and work you’ve done. At the end of this handout you’ll find examples of informative, indicative, evaluative, combination, telescopic, and paragraph annotated bibliography entries in MLA, APA, and CBE formats. Use these examples as your guide to creating an annotated bibliography that makes you look like the expert you are!

MLA Example

APA Example

CBE Example

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

American Psychological Association. 2010. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . 6th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Bell, I. F., and J. Gallup. 1971. A Reference Guide to English, American, and Canadian Literature . Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

Bizzell, Patricia, and Bruce Herzburg. 1991. Bedford Bibliography for Teachers of Writing , 3rd ed. Boston: Bedford Books.

Center for Information on Language Teaching, and The English Teaching Information Center of the British Council. 1968. Language-Teaching Bibliography . Cambridge: Cambridge University.

Engle, Michael, Amy Blumenthal, and Tony Cosgrave. 2012. “How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography.” Olin & Uris Libraries. Cornell University. Last updated September 25, 2012. https://olinuris.library.cornell.edu/content/how-prepare-annotated-bibliography.

Gibaldi, Joseph. 2009. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers , 7th ed. New York: The Modern Language Association of America.

Grasso, Michael. 2004. “Speech Recognition Annotated Bibliography” (Website). University of Maryland-Baltimore County. Department of Computer Science. https://www.csee.umbc.edu/~mgrass2/dissert/annbib.html .

Huth, Edward. 1994. Scientific Style and Format: The CBE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers . New York: University of Cambridge.

Kilborn, Judith. 2004. “MLA Documentation.” LEO: Literacy Education Online. Last updated March 16, 2004. https://leo.stcloudstate.edu/research/mla.html.

Spatt, Brenda. 1991. Writing from Sources , 3rd ed. New York: St. Martin’s.

Memorial University. n.d. “How to Write Annotated Bibliographies.” Memorial University Libraries. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://www.library.mun.ca/researchtools/guides/writing/annotated_bibl/ .

University of Kansas. 2018. “Bibliographies.” KU Writing Center. Last updated April 2018. http://writing.ku.edu/bibliographies .

University of Wisconsin-Madison. 2019. “Annotated Bibliography.” The Writing Center. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/assignments/annotatedbibliography/ .

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Annotated Bibliographies

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What Is An Annotated Bibliography?

What is an annotated bibliography.

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations (references) to books, articles, and documents followed by a brief summary, analysis or evaluation, usually between 100-300 words, of the sources that are cited in the paper.  This summary provides a description of the contents of the source and may also include evaluative comments, such as the relevance, accuracy and quality of the source.  These summaries are known as annotations. 

  • Annotated bibliographies are completed before a paper is written
  • They can be stand-along assignments
  • They can be used as a reference tool as a person works on their paper

Annotations vs. Abstracts

Abstracts are the descriptive summaries of article contents found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles that are written by the article author(s) or editor. Their purpose is to inform a reader about the topic, methodology, results and conclusion of the research of the article's author(s).  The summaries are provided so that a researcher can determine whether or not the article may have information of interest to them.  Abstracts do not serve an evaluative purpose.

Annotations found in bibliographies are evaluations of sources cited in a paper.  They describe a work, but also critique the source by examining the author’s point of view, the strengths and weakness of the research or article hypothesis or how well the author presented their research or findings.

How to write an annotated bibliography

The creation of an annotated bibliography is a three-step process. It starts with finding and evaluating sources for your paper. Next is choosing the type or category of annotation, then writing the annotation for each different source. The final step is to choose a citation style for the bibliography.

Types of Annotated Bibliographies

Types of Annotations

Annotations come in different types, the one to use depends on the instructor’s assignment.  Annotations can be descriptive, a summary, or an  evaluation or a combination of descriptive and evaluation.

Descriptive/Summarizing Annotations

There are two kinds of descriptive or summarizing annotations, informative or indicative, depending on what is most important for a reader to learn about a source.  Descriptive/summarizing annotations provide a brief overview or summary of the source. This can include a description of the contents and a statement of the main argument or position of the article as well as a summary of the main points.  It may also describe why the source would be useful for the paper’s topic or question. 

Indicative annotations provide a quick overview of the source, the kinds of questions/topics/issues or main points that are addressed by the source, but do not include information from the argument or position itself.

Informative annotations, like indicative annotations, provide a brief summary of the source.   In addition, an informative annotation identifies the hypothesis, results, and conclusions presented by the source.  When appropriate, they describe the author’s methodology or approach to the topic under discussion.  However, they do not provide information about the sources usefulness to the paper or contains analytical or critical information about the source’s quality. 

Evaluative Annotations (also known as critical or analytical)

Evaluative annotations go beyond just summarizing the source and listing out it’s key points, but also analyzes the content. It looks at the strengths and weaknesses of the article’s argument, the reliability of the presented information as well as any biases of the author. It talks about how the source may be useful to a particular field of study or the person’s research project.

Combination Annotations

Combination annotations “combine” aspects from indicative/informative and evaluative annotations and are the most common category of annotated bibliography.  Combination annotations include one to two sentences summarizing or describing content, in addition to one or more sentences providing an critical evaluation.

Writing Style for Annotations

Annotations typically follow three specific formats depending on how long they are.

  • Phrases – Short phrases providing the information in a quick, concise manner.
  • Sentences – Complete sentences with proper punctuation and grammar, but are short and concise.
  • Paragraphs – Longer annotations break the information out into different paragraphs. This format is very effective for combination annotations.

To sum it up:

An annotation may include the following information:

  • A brief summary or overview of the source content
  • The source’s strengths and weaknesses in presenting the argument or position
  • Its conclusions
  • Why the source is relevant in to field of study of the paper
  • Its relationships to other studies in the field
  • An evaluation of the research methodology (if applicable)
  • Information about the author’s background and potential biases
  • Conclusions about the usefulness of the source for the paper

Critically Analyzing Articles

In order to write an annotation for a paper source, you need to first read and then critically analyze it:

  • Try to identify the topic of the source -- what is it about and is it clearly stated.
  • See if you can identify the purpose of the author(s) in doing the research or writing about the topic. Is it to survey and summarize research on a topic?  Is the author(s) presenting an argument based on previous research, or refuting previously published research?
  • Identify the research methods used and try to identify whether they appear to be suitable or not for the stated purpose of the research.  
  • Was the research reported in a consistent or clear manner?  Or, was the author's argument/position presented in a consistent or convincing manner? Did the author(s) fail to acknowledge and explain any limitations?
  • Was the logic of the research/argument claims properly supported with convincing evidence/analysis/data? Did you spot any fallacies?
  • Check whether the author(s) refers to other research and if similar studies have been done. 
  • If illustrations or charts are used, are they effective in presenting information?
  • Analyze the sources that were used by the author(s). Did the author(s) miss any important studies they should have considered?
  • Your opinion of the source -- do you agree with or are convinced of the findings?  
  • Your estimation of the source’s contribution to knowledge and its implications or applications to the field of study.

Worksheet for Taking Notes for Critical Analysis of Sources/Articles

Additional Resources:

Hofmann, B., Magelssen, M. In pursuit of goodness in bioethics: analysis of an exemplary article. BMC Med Ethics 19, 60 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12910-018-0299-9

Jansen, M., & Ellerton, P. (2018). How to read an ethics paper. Journal of Medical Ethics, 44(12), 810-813.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/medethics-2018-104997

Research & Learning Services, Olin Library, Cornell University Library  Critically Analyzing Information Sources: Critical Appraisal and Analysis

Formatting An Annotated Bibliography

How do I format my annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography entry consists of two components: the Citation and the Annotation.

The citation should be formatted in the bibliographic style that your instructor has requested for the paper. Some common citation styles include APA, MLA, and Chicago. For more information on citation styles, see Writing Guides, Style Manuals and the Publication Process in the Biological & Health Sciences .

Many databases (e.g., PubMed, Academic Search Premier, Library Search on library homepage, and Google Scholar) offer the option of creating your references in various citation styles. 

Look for the "cite" link -- see examples for the following resources:

University of Minnesota Library Search

Library Search Citation and List

Google Scholar

Google Scholar Citation List

Sample Annotated Bibliography Entries

An example of an Evaluative Annotation , APA style (7th ed). (sample from University Libraries, University of Nevada ).

APA does not have specific formatting rules for annotations, just for the citation and bibliography.

Maak, T. (2007). Responsible leadership, stakeholder engagement, and the emergence of social capital. Journal of Business Ethics, 74, 329-343.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-007-9510-5

This article focuses on the role of social capital in responsible leadership. It looks at both the social networks that a leader builds within an organization, and the links that a leader creates with external stakeholders. Maak’s main aim with this article seems to be to persuade people of the importance of continued research into the abilities that a leader requires and how they can be acquired. The focus on the world of multinational business means that for readers outside this world many of the conclusions seem rather obvious (be part of the solution not part of the problem). In spite of this, the article provides useful background information on the topic of responsible leadership and definitions of social capital which are relevant to an analysis of a public servant.

An example of an Evaluative Annotation , MLA Style (10th ed), (sample from Columbia College, Vancouver, Canada )

MLA style requires double-spacing (not shown here) and paragraph indentations.

London, Herbert. “Five Myths of the Television Age.” Television Quarterly, vol. 10, no. 1, Mar. 1982, pp. 81-69.

     Herbert London, the Dean of Journalism at New York University and author of several books and articles, explains how television contradicts five commonly believed ideas. He uses specific examples of events seen on television, such as the assassination of John Kennedy, to illustrate his points. His examples have been selected to contradict such truisms as: “seeing is believing”; “a picture is worth a thousand words”; and “satisfaction is its own reward.” London uses logical arguments to support his ideas which are his personal opinion. He does not refer to any previous works on the topic. London’s style and vocabulary would make the article of interest to any reader. The article clearly illustrates London’s points, but does not explore their implications leaving the reader with many unanswered questions.

Additional Resources

University Libraries Tutorial --  Tutorial: What are citations?  Completing this tutorial you will:

  • Understand what citations are
  • Recognize why they are important
  • Create and use citations in your papers and other scholarly work

University of Minnesota Resources

Beatty, L., & Cochran, C. (2020). Writing the annotated bibliography : A guide for students & researchers . New York, NY: Routledge. [ebook] 

Efron, S., Ravid, R., & ProQuest. (2019). Writing the literature review : A practical guide . New York: The Guilford Press. [ebook -- see Chapter 6 on Evaluating Research Articles] 

Center for Writing: Student Writing Support

  • Critical reading strategies
  • Common Writing Projects (includes resources for literature reviews & analyzing research articles)

Resources from Other Libraries

Annotated Bibliographies (The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Writing An Annotated Bibliography (University of Toronto)

Annotated Bibliographies (Purdue Writing Lab, Purdue University)

Annotated Bibliography (UNSW Sydney)

What is an annotated bibliography? (Santiago Canyon College Library): Oct 17, 2017. 3:47 min.

Writing an annotated bibliography (EasyBib.com) Oct 22, 2020. 4:53 min.

Creating an annotated bibliography (Laurier University Library, Waterloo, Ontario)/ Apr 3, 2019, 3:32 min.

How to create an annotated bibliography: MLA (JamesTheDLC) Oct 23, 2019. 3:03 min.

Citing Sources

Introduction

Citations are brief notations in the body of a research paper that point to a source in the bibliography or references cited section.

If your paper quotes, paraphrases, summarizes the work of someone else, you need to use citations.

Citation style guides such as APA, Chicago and MLA provide detailed instructions on how citations and bibliographies should be formatted.

Health Sciences Research Toolkit

Resources, tips, and guidelines to help you through the research process., finding information.

Library Research Checklist Helpful hints for starting a library research project.

Search Strategy Checklist and Tips Helpful tips on how to develop a literature search strategy.

Boolean Operators: A Cheat Sheet Boolean logic (named after mathematician George Boole) is a system of logic to designed to yield optimal search results. The Boolean operators, AND, OR, and NOT, help you construct a logical search. Boolean operators act on sets -- groups of records containing a particular word or concept.

Literature Searching Overview and tips on how to conduct a literature search.

Health Statistics and Data Sources Health related statistics and data sources are increasingly available on the Internet. They can be found already neatly packaged, or as raw data sets. The most reliable data comes from governmental sources or health-care professional organizations.

Evaluating Information

Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources in the Health Sciences Understand what are considered primary, secondary and tertiary sources.

Scholarly vs Popular Journals/Magazines How to determine what are scholarly journals vs trade or popular magazines.

Identifying Peer-Reviewed Journals A “peer-reviewed” or “refereed” journal is one in which the articles it contains have been examined by people with credentials in the article’s field of study before it is published.

Evaluating Web  Resources When searching for information on the Internet, it is important to be aware of the quality of the information being presented to you. Keep in mind that anyone can host a web site. To be sure that the information you are looking at is credible and of value.

Conducting Research Through An Anti-Racism Lens This guide is for students, staff, and faculty who are incorporating an anti-racist lens at all stages of the research life cycle.

Understanding Research Study Designs Covers case studies, randomized control trials, systematic reviews and meta-analysis.

Qualitative Studies Overview of what is a qualitative study and how to recognize, find and critically appraise.

Writing and Publishing

Citing Sources Citations are brief notations in the body of a research paper that point to a source in the bibliography or references cited section.

Structure of a Research Paper Reports of research studies usually follow the IMRAD format. IMRAD (Introduction, Methods, Results, [and] Discussion) is a mnemonic for the major components of a scientific paper. These elements are included in the overall structure of a research paper.

Top Reasons for Non-Acceptance of Scientific Articles Avoid these mistakes when preparing an article for publication.

Annotated Bibliographies Guide on how to create an annotated bibliography.

Writing guides, Style Manuals and the Publication Process in the Biological and Health Sciences Style manuals, citation guides as well as information on public access policies, copyright and plagiarism.

Home / Guides / Citation Guides / Citation Basics / Annotated Bibliography Format & Examples

Annotated Bibliography Format & Examples

A complete guide to the mla & apa annotated bibliography.

If you’ve just received an assignment that requires an MLA or APA annotated bibliography, you may be wondering where to start. This guide will help answer all of your questions and includes step-by-step instructions on how to do an annotated bibliography in MLA style, as well as an APA annotated bibliography. You will also find sample annotated bibliographies, real-life examples, and opportunities to practice what you have learned.

The MLA ( Modern Language Association ) and APA (American Psychological Association) are not associated with this guide. All of the information provided here, however, offers direction for students and researchers who use these citation styles in their work.

The structures and annotated bibliography templates on this page were created by the in-house librarians at EasyBib.com.

If you’re simply looking for an example of an annotated bibliography (both in MLA format and APA format), scroll down toward the bottom of the page. We’ve included links to visuals for those of you who need help with the structure and styling of an annotated bibliography. If you’re looking for a variety of annotated bibliography topics, and you’re truly searching for the answer to, “What is an annotated bibliography?” then continue reading!

Here’s a run-through of everything this page includes:

Table of contents

What is an annotated bibliography, annotations vs. abstract, why include annotations.

  • Step 1: Analyze your sources

Step 2: Write the descriptions

  • Step 3a: Formatting an MLA style annotated bibliography
  • Step 3b: Formatting an APA style annotated bibliography

Annotated Bibliography Templates

Using the easybib annotation tool.

A bibliography is a complete list of the sources that were used to complete a research paper or project.

Depending on the style guide you follow, you may also see this called a Works Cited (also called an MLA bibliography) or Reference List (APA format). Each listed source, or citation , shares information about the author, title, publishing year, and other details that serve to credit the original authors whose work informed your research. These details also help other students and researchers find and read the source materials.

When your research is related to a scholastic assignment, you should always verify your instructor’s requirements for the types and number of sources to include, as well as the style you should adhere to when formatting your paper and bibliography.

An MLA annotated bibliography and an APA format annotated bibliography are bibliographies that include a concise explanation, or annotation , of each listed source. Depending on the assignment, this annotation may be solely descriptive, or analytical.

An abstract and annotation should not be confused; they differ in both their substance as well as their placement in a paper.

Annotations: 

  • Usually found in bibliographies at the end of a paper
  • Are subjective
  • Purpose is to summarize and evaluate . It should briefly communicate the work’s main point, but also discuss the background of the author or study, and the strengths/weaknesses of the work.

Abstracts: 

  • Usually found in journal databases or the beginning of a paper
  • Are objective
  • Purpose is to summarize . It should provide a short overview of the article and communicate the main points and themes.

If you would like to learn more , this link further explores the difference between an abstract and an annotation.

This resource provides additional information on how to write a bibliography with annotations in other formats. You can also take advantage of the plagiarism checker and bibliography tools that come with EasyBib Plus to help you create your reference lists.

Before you learn how to make an annotated bibliography, you may be wondering why you need to.

Sometimes instructors want you to create and include annotations in your bibliography, either as part of an assignment or as an assignment unto itself. Understanding the purpose of this approach to your reference list can help to ensure that you gain all of the benefits that the annotated bibliography process provides.

As a student, this method will help you develop or hone your research skills, providing you with practice not only in locating sources but also in analyzing and evaluating them for relevance and quality.

Your instructor will gain insight into your research abilities, as well, allowing them to assess your work more thoroughly. If you plan to publish your research, this comprehensive approach to detailing your sources will provide readers and other researchers with a substantial directory of resources to evaluate for their own work.

Whether you’re publishing or submitting your annotated bibliography, make sure your spelling and wording is correct! If you need to brush up on any parts of speech topics, check out our interjection , determiner , and adverb pages!

Step 1: Analyze your sources 

Each annotation should be a summarization or analysis of your source. If you have been tasked with writing annotations as part of a research paper or project, begin to create both the citation and notes on the source while you identify and analyze your sources.

Not only will this approach help you to hone your research skills and identify sources that are relevant and useful for your topic, but you will also save time. When done in this manner, both your citations and annotations will be nearly complete before you begin to write the body of your paper.

Analyzing your potential sources requires a two-pronged approach that first evaluates the author, publication, and date, and then examines the content.

When conducting your initial assessment of the source, consider some of the following questions to guide your appraisal:

  • What qualifies the author to write on this subject?
  • Is the author affiliated with a reputable institution in this field?
  • Is the author credentialed or otherwise considered an expert in this field?
  • Is this source current?
  • Is this the most recent edition?
  • Is the publisher reputable?
  • Is the journal reputable?

Once your primary evaluation is complete, you will move on the assessing the content itself. Consider some of these elements as you review each source:

  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the author presenting her opinion or interpretation as the truth, or stating facts?
  • What supporting evidence does the author provide?
  • Did the author perform the research, or curate and present the research of others?
  • If the author used the research of others, are the sources the author cites credible?
  • Are there errors or omissions of fact?
  • Is the author writing objectively and without bias?

Also, consider the value each source provides to you:

  • Is the information helpful for your particular assignment?
  • Does it help answer your research question(s)?
  • Is this source different from your other sources, or does it repeat information you already have?
  • Is the source providing you with a different perspective on your topic, or changing your beliefs or thinking about your subject?

To make it easier for you to create your reference page, write your notes in the format you will be using when you construct this part of the assignment (for instance, as short phrases or complete sentences). Once you have identified all of the sources you wish to include, you will merely need to insert what you have already written on the page and write your citation, which is explained in the next section.

Click here for additional information and a supplementary annotated bibliography sample. For an MLA bibliography example (with annotations),  check out our visual example of an MLA annotated bibliography .

An annotated bibliography entry may be written either as short phrases or complete sentences. Your instructor will advise you of which approach you are required to take.

Annotations should include either:

  • The main points from the source, as well as the topics covered, the approach used, and any findings.
  • Or your critical evaluation.
  • A standard annotation is approximately one paragraph.
  • Take care not to include any unnecessary details, as the goal is to summarize each source as succinctly as possible and, in some cases, evaluate them.
  • Your field of study or instructor will determine what format your annotated bibliography will use. In this guide, you’ll find examples of an MLA and an APA annotated bibliography.

Here is an annotated bibliography example MLA annotation for the book The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase by UK author and blogger Mark Forsyth:

The author, Mark Forsyth, examines the rhetorical devices used in the English language, analyzing the patterns and formats that create memorable quotes. He traces the history of rhetoric to the Ancient Greeks, and provides an abridged timeline, following their use and evolution through to modern day. The author also explores the broader subject of persuasion and maps out the role that the figures of rhetoric play in it. In all, he examines over thirty devices, dissecting notable passages and phrases from pop music, the plays of William Shakespeare, the Bible, and more to explore the figures of rhetoric at work within each of them. Thorough definitions accompany this examination of structure to demonstrate how these formulas have been used to generate famously memorable expressions as well as how to reproduce their effects.

Notice how the annotated bibliography MLA entry above is descriptive enough so the reader has an idea of what the source is about with just a single paragraph. For more information on annotations, check out this informative site . If you’re looking to strengthen your writing in general, reading these grammar guides could be a good start.

For guidance on creating entries in MLA format , APA format , and more styles , check out the EasyBib library of resources or try the EasyBib annotation tool—we talk about it below!

Step 3a: MLA annotated bibliography format

The MLA Style Center and the current edition of the MLA Handbook provide the following guidance for formatting an MLA annotated bibliography:

  • Title your reference page as “Annotated Bibliography” or “Annotated List of Works Cited.”
  • Place each annotation after its reference.
  • Annotations should typically not exceed a single paragraph.
  • Annotations should be indented one inch from the start of your citation.
  • Double-space all text on the page.
  • 1-inch margins around the page.

Sources in an annotated bibliography can be organized alphabetically by the first word in each reference (as with a normal Works Cited page), by publication date, or by subject.

For a visual example of an annotated bibliography, as well as specific annotation examples, visit the MLA annotated bibliography guide .

MLA annotated bibliography

If you are required to share your references in a manner other than in MLA bibliography format, the EasyBib style guides can help you with many common styles. While you’re at it, check out their conjunction , preposition , and pronoun pages to help keep your paper in mint condition!

Step 3b: APA annotated bibliography format

The American Psychological Association states that your instructor should set the guidelines for your annotated bibliography, but asks that the bibliography be formatted according to their standard reference page rules (see Section 9.51 of the Publication Manual ). If your teacher has requested an APA formatted annotated bibliography, first ask them for guidelines. Otherwise, here are some quick rules for you to follow:

  • Double space all text on the page.  
  • Title your page “Annotated Bibliogra phy”. Bold and center the title.  
  • Organize references alphabetically by the first word of each reference.  
  • Only the first line of a ref erence is flush with the left margin. Any other lines after the first line should be indented ½ inch from the left.  
  • Add annotations on the next line after their paired reference.   
  • Fully indent annotations by a ½ inch from the left.  
  • Keep annotations short. No more than one paragraph.  

For examples of a  properly formatted APA annotation, visit this guide on APA annotated bibliographies .  

In comparison to the sample annotated bibliography MLA, the APA sample formats its page elements and references differently.

annotated bibliography vs references

Students and researchers who type their research notes can save time by using an annotated bibliography template in MLA format while reviewing and analyzing sources. By adding the relevant information into a pre-formatted template, you’ll create a resource that helps you when you begin writing your paper in addition to saving time by completing your references and summaries alongside your research.

Students who prefer to take notes by hand can employ a modified version of this approach, with an additional step required to transfer your handwritten and formatted references from your notebook to populate your reference page.

Bibliography Template for MLA

To create an annotated bibliography MLA template, copy the following details into the program in which you will take notes or hand write it on the top margin of a page in your notebook. For each source, use this template to guide you as you identify the necessary details and insert them into your notes:

  • Author (Last name, First name).
  • Title of source.
  • Title of the container ,
  • Other contributors (names and roles),
  • Publication Date,
  • Location of the source (such as URL or page range).
  • Summary or Analysis.

The MLA 9 model for MLA works cited entries offers a single format for all source type, and a great deal of flexibility to include the information most relevant to your topic and omit that which isn’t.

Hopefully our visual annotated bibliography example in MLA above has helped. If you still have lingering questions, visit the MLA Style Center online ( linked here ). Also, here’s a guide if you’re looking for more on the related topic of MLA in-text & parenthetical citations .

Bibliography Template for APA

Students and researchers who are still asking themselves how to piece together an annotated bibliography, or still questioning what is an annotated bibliography, could probably benefit from a template, similar to the one above. This one, however, is for those of you who are tasked with creating an annotated bibliography in the style created by the American Psychological Association.

The tricky thing about this specific style though, is that every reference is styled differently. Books, websites, journal articles, newspaper articles, and many others each have their own reference structure.

For most sources though, you should look for the following, basic information:

  • Type of source
  • Author (last name, first name)
  • Title of source/article/web page, etc.
  • Title of where source was found (e.g., database name, website name, etc.)
  • Other contributors (names and roles)
  • Location of the source (such as URL, DOI, or page range)
  • Summary or Analysis

We understand it can get tricky, and it’s very different from the Modern Language Association’s structure for references. Take a moment to either use the other handy guides on EasyBib.com or use our automatic generator to form your references in just a few clicks. Our tools help take the pain away from having to rack your brain to form references properly. Capitals, lowercase letters, italics, quotation marks, punctuation in the appropriate places, it can all be quite overwhelming. Do yourself a favor, and use the EasyBib automatic citation generator.

Even though there are a lot of different variations, here’s a commonly used structure for sources:

Author’s Last Name, First initial, Middle initial. (Year the source was published). Title of the source . Retrieved from (insert the website address here)

Underneath the reference, include your summary or analysis paragraph.

Hopefully, this page helped answer all of your “What is an annotated bibliography?” questions. If you’re seeking out an annotated bibliography generator, follow the steps above the annotated bibliography examples.

Looking for additional help with other related topics? Don’t forget about the various beneficial guides on EasyBib.com! Our APA in-text citation guide and our APA parenthetical citation guide are two of our most popular pages. Learn the ins and outs of referencing your work in the body of your paper with our thorough, complete, and reader-friendly guides.

If you are creating a bibliography in MLA format, the EasyBib MLA bibliography generator can help save you time formatting your citations and annotations correctly. You can create entries for websites, books, videos, databases, dictionary articles, and many other types of sources.

In addition to forming the citations, you can also enter your annotation text to produce the complete entry for each source. The process for this is simple. You can follow along below to practice creating one:

  • First, select your source type from among the 50+ available options. For this example, we will use the acting career of Keanu Reeves as our research topic and use the movie Point Break from 1991 as our first source. To cite this film, you would select the option for “Film/Online Video.” As you follow along, pick the option that is suitable for your source if you are using a different example.
  • Enter the title of your source or, if you are citing a website, you may enter the URL. (Now would be a great time to peek at how to cite websites in MLA ). After you enter the title or URL for your reference, the EasyBib citation tool will scan for titles that match it and provide you with a list of results. Select “Cite this” next to the listing that matches your source.
  • You will see a citation form. This gives you the option to add additional relevant or necessary information. For our sample topic, we will specifically cite Keanu Reeves as the performer and Kathryn Bigelow as the director.
  • After entering any additional details, you have the option to expand your entry and include an annotation. To do so, select “Add annotation” at the bottom of the page, and a text box will open up.

Then, type your summary or analysis into the text box. If you took notes during the research stage using the format of your paper, this might be as simple as copying and pasting your already written summary or critique. Once you have entered all of the necessary information, select “Create citation” to generate the complete entry. You can then copy and paste this into your MLA bibliography.

Here’s what it’ll look like:

Point Break . Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, performance by Keanu Reeves, 20th Century Fox, 1991.

Reeves’ role as rookie FBI Agent Johnny Utah in Point Break marks the turning point in his Hollywood film career. While he’d risen to fame due to the success of the Bill and Ted franchise, his status today as an action star began when Point Break provided him with the material to establish himself as capable of portraying more than the lovable but unserious characters of his previous starring roles. In a parallel arc, director Kathryn Bigelow’s career also sees a shift beginning with Point Break , establishing her within the traditional action genre as a serious director capable of creating high-action and visually memorable films. While Point Break leaves plenty to be desired in terms of dialogue, it afforded Bigelow and Reeves the opportunities to showcase themselves and their talent in new ways that still echo in their work today.

  • Works Cited

Harner, James L.  On Compiling an Annotated Bibliography . 2nd ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2000.

MLA Handbook . 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . 7th ed., American Psychological Association, 2020.

“What Guidance Should I Give My Students for Preparing an Annotated Bibliography?” The MLA Style Center , The Modern Language Association, 4 Nov. 2016, style.mla.org/annotated-bibliographies/.

Visit our EasyBib Twitter feed to discover more citing tips, fun grammar facts, and the latest product updates.

Published October 18, 2015. Updated July 25, 2021.

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau. Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and is the in-house librarian at EasyBib.com. Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing.

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An annotated bibliography is a list containing complete information of sources, such as journals, books, and reports, cited in the text. In addition, it provides a brief description of each source in about 100–150 words. The annotation can explain the topics covered in the source or evaluate the source. The main objective of giving the annotation is to provide the reader the importance, accuracy, and value of the source.

An example of an annotated bibliography in APA style is given below.

Lim, L. (2014). Ideology, rationality and reproduction in education: A critical discourse analysis. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 35 (1), 61–76. https://doi:10.1080/01596306.2012.739467

Lim (2014) focuses on issues of power and ideology dominant in curricular discourses of rationality to study a discourse analysis of the goals of one of the most important curricula in the teaching of thinking. He proves that political and class commitments are reproduced in the forms of thinking that are valued in societies. Through his research, Lim asserts that such curricula engage in making our understanding of what thinking and rationality are. It must facilitate the social reproduction of a specific proportion of the middle class.

If you want to evaluate or provide a description of a source you are citing, you can create an annotated bibliography. Write your annotation in 100–150 words and add it below the source for which you are providing your annotation. Remember, your annotation should provide the reader the importance, accuracy, and value of the source. Below are the guidelines and rules to be followed while writing an annotated bibliography for APA style:

Order your reference entries in alphabetical order, similar to how you would order entries in the reference list.

If you want to add an annotation to an entry, add it as a fresh paragraph below the reference entry. The annotation is indented 0.5 inches from the left margin. However, the first line of the annotation is not indented.

To format the annotated bibliography, follow the recommendations given below:

Set the left, right, top, and bottom margins to 1 inch.

Give double-line spacing.

Title the page “Annotated Bibliography.” Set it in bold.

The title should be aligned to the center of the page.

As you format reference entries, left-align all references in the annotated bibliography section. If any entry runs over more than a line, indent the subsequent lines 0.5 inch from the left margin.

Arrange all reference entries alphabetically according to the surname of the authors.

Provide your annotations below the reference entry for which you want to give your annotation. Indent annotations 0.5 inches from the left margin.

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How to write an annotated bibliography

What is an annotated bibliography.

An annotated bibliography or annotated bib is a bibliography (a list of books or other works) that includes descriptive and evaluative comments about the sources cited in your paper. These comments are also known as annotations .

How do I format my annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography entry consists of two components: the Citation and the Annotation .

The citation should be formatted in the bibliographic style that your professor has requested for the assignment. Some common citation styles include APA , MLA , and Chicago . For more information, see the Style Guides page.

Generally, an annotation is approximately 100-300 words in length (one paragraph). However, your professor may have different expectations so it is recommended that you clarify the assignment guidelines.

An annotation may include the following information:

  • A brief summary of the source
  • The source’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Its conclusions
  • Why the source is relevant in your field of study
  • Its relationships to other studies in the field
  • An evaluation of the research methodology (if applicable)
  • Information about the author’s background
  • Your personal conclusions about the source

MLA style format (8th ed.)

Hanging Indents are required for citations in the bibliography, as shown below. That is, the first line of the citation starts at the left margin, and subsequent lines are indented 4 spaces.  The bibliography is double-spaced, both within the citation and between them. The annotation appends the entry unless complete sentences are used, then a line space is added and the annotation begins with a paragraph indent, as shown in the example below.

Lozier, Jeffrey D., et al. "Predicting the Distribution of Sasquatch in Western North America: Anything Goes with Ecological Niche Modelling." Journal of Biogeography , vol. 36, no.9, 2009, pp. 1623-1627. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/40305930. Accessed 14 June 2016.    This paper critiques the use of Ecological Niche Models (ENM) and species distribution by performing a tongue-in-cheek examination of the distribution of the fictional Sasquatch, based on reports from an online Bigfoot archive.Lozier's paper powerfully demonstrates the issues faced by ENM, when reports come from non-specialists, and highlights key problems with sourcing data from unmediated online environments. The author neglects to compare the reliability of the many wildlife databases with the single Bigfoot database, as well as other key issues; however in closing, the paper briefly mentions that many issues lie outside the scope of the short article. Lozier's paper advises professionals in fields using ENM to carefully assess the source of the data on which the model is based and concludes that the distribution of rare species in particular is often over-reported to misidentification.

APA style format (7th ed.)

Refer to Section 9.51, p. 307 and Figure 9.3, p. 308 in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed. [ print ] for detailed information on annotated bibliographies.

The following are general guidelines. Check with your instructor for

References follow the same alphabetical order as entries in a reference list [Section 9.43-9.44, p. 303]. The annotation is a new paragraph below its reference entry and follows block quotation format [Section 8.27, pp. 272-273]. Should the annotation have multiple paragraphs, the first line of the second and subsequent paragraphs are indented an additional 0.5in.

D’Elia, G., Jorgensen, C., Woelfel, J., & Rodger, E. J. (2002). The impact of the Internet on public library use: An analysis of the current consumer market for library and Internet services. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 53 (10), 808-820. https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.10102 In this study, the researchers examined if the Internet had affected public library usage in the United States. This study is distinct because its researchers surveyed library nonusers as well as   users. The major finding was that 75.2% of people who used the Internet also used the public library. However, the researchers surveyed only 3000 individuals in a population of millions; therefore, these results may not be statistically significant. However, this study is relevant because it provides future researchers with a methodology for determining the impact of the Internet on public library usage.

Additional resources

Writing an annotated bibliography From Concordia University

How to prepare an annotated bibliography From Cornell University

Writing an annotated bibliography From University of Toronto

Annotated bibliographies From The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

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Citing Sources - References vs Bibliography

References and Bibliographies - What's the difference?

When you write academic papers, you will need to include a list of sources you used to write the paper. There are two main ways to list your sources, with a reference list or a bibliography.

References include sources that have been directly cited in your paper. For each source, you will have at least one in-text citation in the body of your paper. The citation styles that use reference lists include APA citations, AMA citations, and MLA citations.

Bibliographies, on the other hand, contain all the sources that you have used for your paper, whether they are directly cited or not. In a bibliography, you should include all of the materials you consulted in preparing your paper. Chicago citations and Oxford citations are two citation styles that use bibliographies.

Both reference lists and bibliographies appear at the end of a written work and are usually organized alphabetically. A paper can have both a reference list and a bibliography.

For more information on how to cite your sources, check out the De Paul Library's Citation Guide .

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What is An Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of sources (books, articles, websites, etc.) with short paragraph about each source. An annotated bibliography is sometimes a useful step before drafting a research paper, or it can stand alone as an overview of the research available on a topic.

Each source in the annotated bibliography has a citation - the information a reader needs to find the original source, in a consistent format to make that easier. These consistent formats are called citation styles.  The most common citation styles are MLA (Modern Language Association) for humanities, and APA (American Psychological Association) for social sciences.

Annotations are about 4 to 6 sentences long (roughly 150 words), and address:

  •     Main focus or purpose of the work
  •     Usefulness or relevance to your research topic 
  •     Special features of the work that were unique or helpful
  •     Background and credibility of the author
  •     Conclusions or observations reached by the author
  •     Conclusions or observations reached by you

Annotations versus Abstracts

Many scholarly articles start with an abstract, which is the author's summary of the article to help you decide whether you should read the entire article.  This abstract is not the same thing as an annotation.  The annotation needs to be in your own words, to explain the relevance of the source to your particular assignment or research question.

Annotated Bibliography video

MLA 9th Annotated Bibliography Examples

Ontiveros, Randy J.  In the Spirit of a New People: The Cultural Politics of the Chicano Movement . New York UP, 2014.

This book analyzes the journalism, visual arts, theater, and novels of the Chicano movement from 1960 to the present as articulations of personal and collective values. Chapter 3 grounds the theater of El Teatro Campesino in the labor and immigrant organizing of the period, while Chapter 4 situates Sandra Cisneros’s novel  Caramelo  in the struggles of Chicana feminists to be heard in the traditional and nationalist elements of the Chicano movement. Ontiveros provides a powerful and illuminating historical context for the literary and political texts of the movement.

Journal article

Alvarez, Nadia, and Jack Mearns. “The Benefits of Writing and Performing in the Spoken Word Poetry Community.”  The Arts in Psychotherapy , vol. 41, no. 3, July 2014, pp. 263-268.  ScienceDirect ,  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aip.2014.03.004 .

Spoken word poetry is distinctive because it is written to be performed out loud, in person, by the poet. The ten poets interviewed by these authors describe “a reciprocal relationship between the audience and the poet” created by that practice of performance. To build community, spoken word poets keep metaphor and diction relatively simple and accessible. Richness is instead built through fragmented stories that coalesce into emotional narratives about personal and community concerns.  This understanding of poets’ intentions illuminates their recorded performances.

*Note, citations have a .5 hanging indent and the annotations have a 1 inch indent. 

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MLA 8th Annotated Bibliography Examples

Ontiveros, Randy J. In the Spirit of a New People: The Cultural Politics of the Chicano Movement . New York UP, 2014. This book analyzes the journalism, visual arts, theater, and novels of the Chicano movement from 1960 to the present as articulations of personal and collective values. Chapter 3 grounds the theater of El Teatro Campesino in the labor and immigrant organizing of the period, while Chapter 4 situates Sandra Cisneros’s novel Caramelo in the struggles of Chicana feminists to be heard in the traditional and nationalist elements of the Chicano movement. Ontiveros provides a powerful and illuminating historical context for the literary and political texts of the movement.

Alvarez, Nadia, and Jack Mearns. “The Benefits of Writing and Performing in the Spoken Word Poetry Community.” The Arts in Psychotherapy , vol. 41, no. 3, July 2014, pp. 263-268. ScienceDirect , doi:10.1016/j.aip.2014.03.004 . Spoken word poetry is distinctive because it is written to be performed out loud, in person, by the poet. The ten poets interviewed by these authors describe “a reciprocal relationship between the audience and the poet” created by that practice of performance. To build community, spoken word poets keep metaphor and diction relatively simple and accessible. Richness is instead built through fragmented stories that coalesce into emotional narratives about personal and community concerns.  This understanding of poets’ intentions illuminates their recorded performances.

  • MLA 8th Sample Annotated Bibliography

APA 7th Annotated Bibliography Examples

Alvarez, N. & Mearns, J. (2014). The benefits of writing and performing in the spoken word poetry community.  The Arts in Psychotherapy, 41 (3), 263-268.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aip.2014.03.004 Prior research has shown narrative writing to help with making meaning out of trauma. This article uses grounded theory to analyze semi-structured interviews with ten spoken word poets.  Because spoken word poetry is performed live, it creates personal and community connections that enhance the emotional development and resolution offered by the practice of writing. The findings are limited by the small, nonrandom sample (all the participants were from the same community).

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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.

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Annotated Bibliography vs. Literature Review

What's the big deal.

There are fundamental differences between an annotated bibliography and a literature review that are crucial to completing the assignment correctly. The chart below is provides an overview of the biggest differences between the two types of assignments in a side-by-side comparison. However, if you need more specific information about either assignment, visit our Annotated Bibliography and/or Literature Review pages for more detailed information on how to complete them. 

Differences between an annotated bibliography and literature review

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography, in its purest form, is simply a list of sources and a description of each source. Aside from being an often required homework assignment in beginning college English courses, the annotated bibliography has a practical use as well. The idea of an annotated bibliography is that it gives you a springboard to write your essay. With this nasty (but helpful!) little tool, you compile all of your sources in their proper citation format and then you describe, briefly, what the content of the source is and its significance to your essay. This way, by the time you are done with your annotated bibliography, you can see what you have to work with, and what you still need more of.

Annotated bibliography vs. works cited/reference page

An annotated bibliography is sometimes confused with a works cited/reference page. Although they do not differ too much, the difference is important. A works cited page (in MLA) or a reference page (in APA) is simply the first part of an annotated bibliography. It is the part where the source is fully cited in the proper format (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.). Your annotated bibliography, however, enhances this. To turn a works cited/reference page into an annotated bibliography, you must add the description of the source and its content. Here’s a comparison of a works cited vs. an annotated bibliography:

Reference list (in APA format):

Balkrishna, A., Guar, V., Telley, S. (2009). Effect of a yoga practice session and yoga theory session on state anxiety. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 109 (3), 924-930.

A nnotated bibliography (in APA format):

Balkrishna, A., Guar, V., Telley, S. (2009). Effect of a yoga practice session and yoga theory session on state anxiety. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 109 (3), 924-930. 

This study took 300 participants who were unfamiliar with yoga and tested the effects of this ancient method on reducing the participants’ State Anxiety. Participants were assigned to either the yoga practice group or the yoga theory group. Before and after a 2 hour session, participants’ State Anxiety scores were tested via the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Both groups showed significant decrease in anxiety symptoms after the session. The anxiety scores of the yoga practice group decreased by 14.5% and the yoga theory group’s scores declined by 3.4%.

Note: It is important that everything except the first line of the citation is indented one half inch—this is called a hanging indentation. In both an annotated bibliography and a good old-fashioned works cited page, everything related to that particular source is indented except for the first line with the author’s name at the beginning. This is true for both APA and MLA formatting.

What should be in an annotated bibliography?

As previously stated, first you’ll want to put the source into the proper citation format (whichever one is assigned to you by your professor). Then comes the “annotated” aspect of the annotated bibliography. This part is simply a description of your source, but be sure to put what is relevant about it. Random details may be interesting, but you will probably have a rather short amount of space to sum up an entire work, so your annotation should “cut to the chase,” so to speak. If you are writing an annotated bibliography for a research article, then write what is pertinent to your paper (or what you think will be pertinent to it). If you are writing an annotated bibliography for an argumentative paper, then include the parts of the text that will be important for backing your argument. Even if this is an assignment, make it count. Take advantage of your annotated bibliography to help you organize your material and form a better essay.

Make it make sense

The last thing to remember when you are writing your annotated bibliography is to make it make sense. By this, I mean making it fluid. In the annotated bibliography example above, the annotation begins by introducing the study and the participants. Then it progresses into what the study entailed and what the participants did. At the end, it sums up the study by showing the results. The annotation has a consistent rhythm and can easily be followed by the reader. As with an essay, have a plan as to how you want the annotation to pan out. Start with one subject matter or idea then neatly segue into another. This will make your ideas and the text’s content much easier to follow.

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Annotations

What is an annotation.

An annotation is a short (100-300 words) summary or critical evaluation of a source. Annotations can help you learn about your topic, develop a thesis statement, decide if a source will be useful for your assignment, and determine if there is enough valid information available to complete your project.

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations for various books, articles, and other sources. The annotated bibliography looks like a Works Cited page but it also includes an annotation after each source cited. Annotated bibliographies are a great research tool. 

What Goes Into an Annotation?

Most annotations both summarize and evaluate. Be sure to check with your professors to know what they want in annotations. 

A summary describes the source by answering who wrote the document and their overall argument. You don't need to include every part of the argument; just the parts that are most relevant to your topic.

An evaluation  critically assesses the work for accuracy, relevance, and quality. Check for any biases, holes, or particular strengths. Try out this Quick-How-To about  Evaluating Sources  for detailed guidance on assessing a source.

Tip:  Annotations are original descriptions that you create after reading the document. You may find a short summary, often titled "abstract," at the beginning of journal articles. Do not copy the abstract as that would be plagiarism.

Writing an Annotation

Cite the source using MLA style.

Describe the main ideas, arguments, themes, theses, or methodology, and identify the intended audience.

Explain the author’s expertise, point of view, and any bias he/she may have.

Compare to other sources on the same topic that you have also cited to show similarities and differences.

Explain why each source is useful for your research topic and how it relates to your topic.

Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each source.

Identify the observations or conclusions of the author. 

Tips on Writing and Formatting

Each annotation should be one or two paragraphs and between three to six sentences long (about 100- 300 words total).

All lines should be double-spaced (unless your professor has noted a different format).

Do not add an extra line between the citations.

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), unless discussing your own research.

Sample Annotation

London, Herbert. “Five Myths of the Television Age.” Television Quarterly , vol. 10, no. 1, Mar. 1982, pp. 81-89.

Herbert London, the Dean of Journalism at New York University and author of several books and articles, explains how television contradicts five commonly believed ideas. He uses specific examples of events seen on television, such as the assassination of John Kennedy, to illustrate his points. His examples have been selected to contradict such truisms as: “seeing is believing”; “a picture is worth a thousand words”; and “satisfaction is its own reward.” London uses logical arguments to support his ideas which are his personal opinion. He does not refer to any previous works on the topic. London’s style and vocabulary would make the article of interest to any reader. The article clearly illustrates London’s points, but does not explore their implications leaving the reader with many unanswered questions.

Adapted from: "How to Write Annotated Bibliographies."  Memorial University Libraries ,  www.library.mun.ca/researchtools/guides/writing/annotated_bibl/ .

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Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between a literature review and an annotated bibliography.

A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other  academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .

An  annotated bibliography is a list of  source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a  paper .  

Frequently asked questions: Dissertation

Dissertation word counts vary widely across different fields, institutions, and levels of education:

  • An undergraduate dissertation is typically 8,000–15,000 words
  • A master’s dissertation is typically 12,000–50,000 words
  • A PhD thesis is typically book-length: 70,000–100,000 words

However, none of these are strict guidelines – your word count may be lower or higher than the numbers stated here. Always check the guidelines provided by your university to determine how long your own dissertation should be.

A dissertation prospectus or proposal describes what or who you plan to research for your dissertation. It delves into why, when, where, and how you will do your research, as well as helps you choose a type of research to pursue. You should also determine whether you plan to pursue qualitative or quantitative methods and what your research design will look like.

It should outline all of the decisions you have taken about your project, from your dissertation topic to your hypotheses and research objectives , ready to be approved by your supervisor or committee.

Note that some departments require a defense component, where you present your prospectus to your committee orally.

A thesis is typically written by students finishing up a bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Some educational institutions, particularly in the liberal arts, have mandatory theses, but they are often not mandatory to graduate from bachelor’s degrees. It is more common for a thesis to be a graduation requirement from a Master’s degree.

Even if not mandatory, you may want to consider writing a thesis if you:

  • Plan to attend graduate school soon
  • Have a particular topic you’d like to study more in-depth
  • Are considering a career in research
  • Would like a capstone experience to tie up your academic experience

The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation should include the following:

  • A restatement of your research question
  • A summary of your key arguments and/or results
  • A short discussion of the implications of your research

The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation shouldn’t take up more than 5–7% of your overall word count.

For a stronger dissertation conclusion , avoid including:

  • Important evidence or analysis that wasn’t mentioned in the discussion section and results section
  • Generic concluding phrases (e.g. “In conclusion …”)
  • Weak statements that undermine your argument (e.g., “There are good points on both sides of this issue.”)

Your conclusion should leave the reader with a strong, decisive impression of your work.

While it may be tempting to present new arguments or evidence in your thesis or disseration conclusion , especially if you have a particularly striking argument you’d like to finish your analysis with, you shouldn’t. Theses and dissertations follow a more formal structure than this.

All your findings and arguments should be presented in the body of the text (more specifically in the discussion section and results section .) The conclusion is meant to summarize and reflect on the evidence and arguments you have already presented, not introduce new ones.

A theoretical framework can sometimes be integrated into a  literature review chapter , but it can also be included as its own chapter or section in your dissertation . As a rule of thumb, if your research involves dealing with a lot of complex theories, it’s a good idea to include a separate theoretical framework chapter.

A literature review and a theoretical framework are not the same thing and cannot be used interchangeably. While a theoretical framework describes the theoretical underpinnings of your work, a literature review critically evaluates existing research relating to your topic. You’ll likely need both in your dissertation .

While a theoretical framework describes the theoretical underpinnings of your work based on existing research, a conceptual framework allows you to draw your own conclusions, mapping out the variables you may use in your study and the interplay between them.

A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical first steps in your writing process. It helps you to lay out and organize your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding what kind of research you’d like to undertake.

Generally, an outline contains information on the different sections included in your thesis or dissertation , such as:

  • Your anticipated title
  • Your abstract
  • Your chapters (sometimes subdivided into further topics like literature review , research methods , avenues for future research, etc.)

When you mention different chapters within your text, it’s considered best to use Roman numerals for most citation styles. However, the most important thing here is to remain consistent whenever using numbers in your dissertation .

In most styles, the title page is used purely to provide information and doesn’t include any images. Ask your supervisor if you are allowed to include an image on the title page before doing so. If you do decide to include one, make sure to check whether you need permission from the creator of the image.

Include a note directly beneath the image acknowledging where it comes from, beginning with the word “ Note .” (italicized and followed by a period). Include a citation and copyright attribution . Don’t title, number, or label the image as a figure , since it doesn’t appear in your main text.

Definitional terms often fall into the category of common knowledge , meaning that they don’t necessarily have to be cited. This guidance can apply to your thesis or dissertation glossary as well.

However, if you’d prefer to cite your sources , you can follow guidance for citing dictionary entries in MLA or APA style for your glossary.

A glossary is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. In contrast, an index is a list of the contents of your work organized by page number.

The title page of your thesis or dissertation goes first, before all other content or lists that you may choose to include.

The title page of your thesis or dissertation should include your name, department, institution, degree program, and submission date.

Glossaries are not mandatory, but if you use a lot of technical or field-specific terms, it may improve readability to add one to your thesis or dissertation. Your educational institution may also require them, so be sure to check their specific guidelines.

A glossary or “glossary of terms” is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. Your glossary only needs to include terms that your reader may not be familiar with, and is intended to enhance their understanding of your work.

A glossary is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. In contrast, dictionaries are more general collections of words.

An abbreviation is a shortened version of an existing word, such as Dr. for Doctor. In contrast, an acronym uses the first letter of each word to create a wholly new word, such as UNESCO (an acronym for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

As a rule of thumb, write the explanation in full the first time you use an acronym or abbreviation. You can then proceed with the shortened version. However, if the abbreviation is very common (like PC, USA, or DNA), then you can use the abbreviated version from the get-go.

Be sure to add each abbreviation in your list of abbreviations !

If you only used a few abbreviations in your thesis or dissertation , you don’t necessarily need to include a list of abbreviations .

If your abbreviations are numerous, or if you think they won’t be known to your audience, it’s never a bad idea to add one. They can also improve readability, minimizing confusion about abbreviations unfamiliar to your reader.

A list of abbreviations is a list of all the abbreviations that you used in your thesis or dissertation. It should appear at the beginning of your document, with items in alphabetical order, just after your table of contents .

Your list of tables and figures should go directly after your table of contents in your thesis or dissertation.

Lists of figures and tables are often not required, and aren’t particularly common. They specifically aren’t required for APA-Style, though you should be careful to follow their other guidelines for figures and tables .

If you have many figures and tables in your thesis or dissertation, include one may help you stay organized. Your educational institution may require them, so be sure to check their guidelines.

A list of figures and tables compiles all of the figures and tables that you used in your thesis or dissertation and displays them with the page number where they can be found.

The table of contents in a thesis or dissertation always goes between your abstract and your introduction .

You may acknowledge God in your dissertation acknowledgements , but be sure to follow academic convention by also thanking the members of academia, as well as family, colleagues, and friends who helped you.

In a thesis or dissertation, the discussion is an in-depth exploration of the results, going into detail about the meaning of your findings and citing relevant sources to put them in context.

The conclusion is more shorter and more general: it concisely answers your main research question and makes recommendations based on your overall findings.

In the discussion , you explore the meaning and relevance of your research results , explaining how they fit with existing research and theory. Discuss:

  • Your  interpretations : what do the results tell us?
  • The  implications : why do the results matter?
  • The  limitation s : what can’t the results tell us?

The results chapter or section simply and objectively reports what you found, without speculating on why you found these results. The discussion interprets the meaning of the results, puts them in context, and explains why they matter.

In qualitative research , results and discussion are sometimes combined. But in quantitative research , it’s considered important to separate the objective results from your interpretation of them.

Results are usually written in the past tense , because they are describing the outcome of completed actions.

The results chapter of a thesis or dissertation presents your research results concisely and objectively.

In quantitative research , for each question or hypothesis , state:

  • The type of analysis used
  • Relevant results in the form of descriptive and inferential statistics
  • Whether or not the alternative hypothesis was supported

In qualitative research , for each question or theme, describe:

  • Recurring patterns
  • Significant or representative individual responses
  • Relevant quotations from the data

Don’t interpret or speculate in the results chapter.

To automatically insert a table of contents in Microsoft Word, follow these steps:

  • Apply heading styles throughout the document.
  • In the references section in the ribbon, locate the Table of Contents group.
  • Click the arrow next to the Table of Contents icon and select Custom Table of Contents.
  • Select which levels of headings you would like to include in the table of contents.

Make sure to update your table of contents if you move text or change headings. To update, simply right click and select Update Field.

All level 1 and 2 headings should be included in your table of contents . That means the titles of your chapters and the main sections within them.

The contents should also include all appendices and the lists of tables and figures, if applicable, as well as your reference list .

Do not include the acknowledgements or abstract in the table of contents.

The abstract appears on its own page in the thesis or dissertation , after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .

An abstract for a thesis or dissertation is usually around 200–300 words. There’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check your university’s requirements.

In a thesis or dissertation, the acknowledgements should usually be no longer than one page. There is no minimum length.

The acknowledgements are generally included at the very beginning of your thesis , directly after the title page and before the abstract .

Yes, it’s important to thank your supervisor(s) in the acknowledgements section of your thesis or dissertation .

Even if you feel your supervisor did not contribute greatly to the final product, you must acknowledge them, if only for a very brief thank you. If you do not include your supervisor, it may be seen as a snub.

In the acknowledgements of your thesis or dissertation, you should first thank those who helped you academically or professionally, such as your supervisor, funders, and other academics.

Then you can include personal thanks to friends, family members, or anyone else who supported you during the process.

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  • Key Differences

Know the Differences & Comparisons

Difference Between Reference and Bibliography

Last updated on October 1, 2019 by Surbhi S

reference vs bibliography

Reference and Bibliography is an important part of any project under study because it helps in acknowledging other’s work and also help the readers in finding the original sources of information. It not only prevents plagiarism but also indicates that the writer has done good research on the subject by using a variety of sources to gain information.

Read out the article to know the differences between reference and bibliography.

Content: Reference Vs Bibliography

Comparison chart, definition of reference.

Reference can be understood as the act of giving credit to or mentioning the name of, someone or something. In research methodology, it denotes the items which you have reviewed and referred to, in the text, in your research work. It is nothing but a way to acknowledge or indirectly showing gratitude, towards the sources from where the information is gathered.

While using references, one thing is to be noted that you go for reliable sources only, because it increases credence and also supports your arguments. It may include, books, research papers, or articles from magazines, journals, newspapers, etc., interview transcripts, internet sources such as websites, blogs, videos watched, and so forth.

These are used to inform the reader about the sources of direct quotations, tables, statistics, photos etc. that are included in the research work.

Definition of Bibliography

At the end of the research report, bibliography is added, which contains a list of books, magazines, journals, websites or other publications which are in some way relevant to the topic under study, that has been consulted by the researcher during the research. In finer terms, it comprises of all the references cited in the form of footnotes and other important works that the author has studied.

The bibliography is helpful to the reader in gaining information regarding the literature available on the topic and what influenced the author. For better presentation and convenient reading, the bibliography can be grouped into two parts, wherein the first part lists out the names of books and pamphlets consulted, and the other contains the names of magazines and newspapers considered.

Types of Bibliography

  • Bibliography of works cited : It contains the name of those books whose content has been cited in the text of the research report.
  • Selected Bibliography : As it is evident from the name itself, selected bibliography covers only those works which the author assumes that are of major interest to the reader.
  • Annotated Bibliography : In this type of bibliography, a small description of the items covered is given by the author to ensure readability and also improve the usefulness of the book.

Key Differences Between Reference and Bibliography

The difference between reference and bibliography can be drawn clearly on the following grounds:

  • Reference implies referring to someone or something, that means it provides the list of sources, whose text is used in the assignment or research work. Conversely, bibliography represents the list of all the sources, from which the research has gained some information about the topic, irrespective of the work cited or not.
  • References are based on primary sources, whereas bibliography is created on the basis of primary and secondary sources.
  • References used in the assignment can be arranged alphabetically or numerically. On the contrary, list of sources used in the bibliography is arranged numerically.
  • The bibliography is used to list out everything you go through to obtain the information relating to the assignment, no matter if you specifically cite it in your assignment or not. Now coming to references, it only takes into account those sources which have been cited in the assignment.
  • The main objective of adding a reference at the end of the document is to improve credence or support an idea or argument. As against, the bibliography is not used for supporting an argument.
  • While reference is used in thesis and dissertation. On the other hand, bibliography is used in case of journal paper and research work.

To sum up, references and bibliography are almost same, but there are only subtle differences between the two, which lies in the items which are included in them. The primary use of references is to get recognition and authentication of the research work, whereas bibliography is appended with the aim of giving the reader the information on the sources relating to the topic.

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footnote vs endnote

manjitha says

October 5, 2019 at 9:56 am

It was so helpful to study easily. Easy to understand. Gud job

November 5, 2019 at 6:41 am

Thanks for the work.

Amirjan Samim says

November 11, 2019 at 11:22 pm

All of the descriptions and information about the “reference and bibliography” and the difference between them are useful for the readers. Since both terms are closely related, this is why both terms are sometimes confusing for some people. Thanks for the helpful explanations you have given about the two terms mentioned above.

Chiranjit Singha says

January 20, 2020 at 8:01 pm

This webpage is very helpful and easy to understand, Thanks all of you sir.

Maya Zita says

February 10, 2020 at 2:19 pm

Very helpful for my studies… Best explained, thank you very much for this upload.

Amit Kumar Das says

May 6, 2020 at 8:07 pm

Excellent..

Nidhi Suhag says

June 27, 2020 at 9:40 am

very well explained. thanks for sharing such an informative upload.

Ishaka Ibrahim says

March 2, 2021 at 2:07 pm

Very interesting and educative write up but would like to see reference/source of the work.

hassan sakaba says

March 25, 2021 at 5:23 pm

April 8, 2021 at 3:29 pm

Very helpful However I had a doubt regarding the placement of bibliography. Usually references are placed after the main body and conclusion. But where is bibliography placed?

Aladuge says

August 28, 2021 at 1:39 pm

This is a wonderful piece. Thanks for a job well done

Darlington mwape says

September 8, 2022 at 2:17 pm

Thanks for this wonderful piece of information but iam going with S. N says

I had a doubt regarding the placement of bibliography. Usually references are placed after the main body and conclusion. But where is bibliography placed?

OMVITI NOBERT says

January 13, 2023 at 4:41 pm

The comparisons are very good. Thank you. Be blessed more in wisdom.

March 25, 2023 at 4:32 am

So for my podcast, which is mainly audio essays, which should I use?

Pias Hebal Karmakar says

June 9, 2023 at 2:50 pm

I am much more pleased with this work. I helped me a lot in my study. Thanks.

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What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of cited sources from books, articles, documents, or websites. Some annotated bibliography summarize a source and some evaluate or assess a source. Your professor will specify the type and citation style of annotated bibliography they would like.

Sample Annotated Bibliography Entries

The following example uses APA style ( Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 6th edition, 2010)  for the journal citation:

Waite, L. J., Goldschneider, F. K., & 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.

This example uses MLA style ( MLA Handbook , 8th edition, 2016)  for the journal citation:

Waite, Linda J., et al. "Nonfamily Living and the Erosion of Traditional Family Orientations Among Young Adults."  American Sociological Review,  vol. 51, no. 4, 1986, pp. 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.

The content in this box was created by 

Olin Library Reference Research & Learning Services Cornell University Library Ithaca, NY, USA

And is used with permission.

Annotation vs. Abstract

An abstract is a descriptive summary of the contents main ideas offered of a book, article, document, or other work. An annotation is often a descriptive and critical summary of the contents main ideas added after a citation of the analyzed source. The annotation may describe the author’s view point and evaluates the source’s authority, clarity, and value.    

Ask your professor which citation style is preferred for the annotated bibliography. Research guides for APA, MLA, and Chicago citation styles are noted below.

  • APA Citation Style by Marian the Librarian Last Updated Aug 25, 2023 1831 views this year
  • MLA Style by Eliot Boden Last Updated Aug 25, 2023 190 views this year
  • Chicago/Turabian Style by Eliot Boden Last Updated Aug 25, 2023 78 views this year
  • Purdue OWL - Annotated Bibliographies Annotated bibliography information from the Purdue Online Writing Lab (Purdue OWL)

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Home » Education » Difference Between Annotated Bibliography and Literature Review

Difference Between Annotated Bibliography and Literature Review

Main difference – annotated bibliography vs literature review.

Annotated bibliography and literature review summarize and analyze the information gathered from different sources. The difference between annotated bibliography and literature review lies in the way they present information. An annotated bibliography lists the sources separately, followed by short descriptions. But, literature review analyses all the sources together, examining the relationship between them. In addition, differences can also be observed in purpose, format, and components as well.

This article examines,

1. What is an Annotated Bibliography? – Structure, Components, and Purpose 

2. What is a Literature Review? – Structure, Components, and Purpose 

Difference Between Annotated Bibliography and Literature Review - Comparison Summary

What is an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a bibliography (a list of resources) accompanied by annotations. Annotations are usually short descriptions and critical assessment of each word. The writer will evaluate whether the information from that particular source is relevant to the particular topic and examine the quality of the work. The annotations will contain about 100-200 words. The information about different sources are given separately in an annotated bibliography. The information is listed in alphabetical order. Moreover, each item in the list should use a formal citation style such as APA, MLA or Chicago.

Moreover, annotations may be classified into different types based on their purpose. Informative annotations summarize the source. Evaluative annotations evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the source. The following section is an example of the structure of an annotated bibliography. Here, you can see how different sources are analysed separately. Read more about Annotated Bibliography and how to write it.

What is a Literature Review

A literature review is an evaluative report of information found in the literature related to your selected area of study. It provides an overview of a particular topic or issue by summarizing and explaining the most significant sources in the field. In a literature review, the sources are integrated into paragraphs based on the relevance. Unlike in an annotated bibliography, the sources are not summarized individually. This method helps to establish relationships – similarities and difference – between the literature you have reviewed. In addition, the gaps in the knowledge are highlighted by this presentation of information as a whole. The structure of a literature review is similar to that of an essay or an article. The list of sources is given as a bibliography or reference list at the end of the text.

The following example indicates the structure of a literature review. In this example, you can observe how different sources are analysed to bring out the commonalities or differences. 

Annotated Bibliography: Sources are analyzed separately.

Literature Review: Information from different sources are analyzed together.

Listing Sources

Annotated Bibliography: The source is indicated at the beginning of each section.

Literature Review: The sources are listed at the end of the document, as a bibliography.

Annotated Bibliography: Annotated bibliography comments on the relevance and quality of the information.

Literature Review: Literature review establishes a relationship between different sources and highlights gaps in knowledge.

Annotated Bibliography : Sources are listed alphabetically.

Literature Review: Sources are integrated together according to relevance.

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COMMENTS

  1. What's the difference between a regular bibliography and an annotated

    A bibliography (sometimes called "works cited" or "references") ... For more details on annotated bibliographies, visit Purdue Owl's Writing Lab and their page on annotated bibliographies. They will also include an example, if you'd like to see one. For more help, ask a librarian. Reviewed 8/12/2021 bgw. Toggle action bar FAQ Actions. Print;

  2. What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

    Published on March 9, 2021 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on August 23, 2022. An annotated bibliography is a list of source references that includes a short descriptive text (an annotation) for each source. It may be assigned as part of the research process for a paper, or as an individual assignment to gather and read relevant sources on a topic.

  3. Reference lists versus bibliographies

    A reference list contains works that specifically support the ideas, claims, and concepts in a paper; in contrast, a bibliography provides works for background or further reading and may include descriptive notes (e.g., an annotated bibliography). The Publication Manual (see Section 9.51) provides formatting guidance and examples for annotated ...

  4. Annotated Bibliographies

    A bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, Web sites, periodicals, etc.) one has used for researching a topic. Bibliographies are sometimes called "References" or "Works Cited" depending on the style format you are using. A bibliography usually just includes the bibliographic information (i.e., the author, title, publisher, etc.).

  5. How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

    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: ...

  6. The Annotated Bibliography

    What Is an Annotated Bibliography? An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and 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 ...

  7. RasGuides: APA 7th Edition Guide: Annotated Bibliographies

    An annotated bibliography includes: APA Title page. Pages are numbered beginning with title page. APA formatted reference list beginning on own page. References centered and bolded at top of page. Entries listed in alphabetical order. Annotations begin under its associated reference. Annotations are indented 0.5 inches from the left margin.

  8. APA Citation Guide (7th Edition): Annotated Bibliography

    An annotated bibliography is a list of citations for various books, articles, and other sources on a topic. The annotated bibliography looks like a References page but includes an annotation after each source cited. An annotation is a short summary and/or critical evaluation of a source. Annotated bibliographies can be part of a larger research ...

  9. Annotated Bibliographies

    What is an Annotated Bibliography. A bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, Web sites, periodicals, etc.) you used for researching your topic.Bibliographies are called "Works Cited" (in MLA Style) and "References" (in APA Style) Your bibliography will include the bibliographic information (i.e., the author, title, publisher, etc.) that your reader would need to identify and locate ...

  10. Annotated Bibliographies

    Annotated bibliographies for CBE/CSE format do not require a special title. Use the usual "References," "Cited References," or "Literature Cited," and set it flush with the left margin. Bibliographies for CSE in general are in a slightly smaller font than the rest of the paper.

  11. Home

    An annotated bibliography is a list of citations (references) to books, articles, and documents followed by a brief summary, analysis or evaluation, usually between 100-300 words, of the sources that are cited in the paper. This summary provides a description of the contents of the source and may also include evaluative comments, such as the ...

  12. Annotated Bibliography Examples for MLA & APA

    A bibliography is a complete list of the sources that were used to complete a research paper or project.. Depending on the style guide you follow, you may also see this called a Works Cited (also called an MLA bibliography) or Reference List (APA format).Each listed source, or citation, shares information about the author, title, publishing year, and other details that serve to credit the ...

  13. How to write an annotated bibliography

    An annotated bibliography or annotated bib is a bibliography (a list of books or other works) that includes descriptive and evaluative comments about the sources cited in your paper. ... References follow the same alphabetical order as entries in a reference list [Section 9.43-9.44, p. 303]. The annotation is a new paragraph below its reference ...

  14. References vs Bibliography

    There are two main ways to list your sources, with a reference list or a bibliography. References include sources that have been directly cited in your paper. For each source, you will have at least one in-text citation in the body of your paper. The citation styles that use reference lists include APA citations, AMA citations, and MLA citations.

  15. Reference List or Bibliography: What's the Difference?

    A reference list and a bibliography look a lot alike: They're both composed of entries arranged alphabetically by author, for example, and they include the same basic information. The difference lies not so much in how they look as in what they contain. A bibliography usually contains all the works cited in a paper, but it may also include ...

  16. LibGuides: Research Strategies: Annotated Bibliography

    An annotated bibliography is a list of sources (books, articles, websites, etc.) with short paragraph about each source. An annotated bibliography is sometimes a useful step before drafting a research paper, or it can stand alone as an overview of the research available on a topic. Each source in the annotated bibliography has a citation - the ...

  17. Annotated Bibliography Samples

    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 ...

  18. Annotated Bibliography vs. Literature Review

    Annotated Bibliographies Literature Reviews Notes; Definition: An organized list of citations/sources to books, articles, and documents.. Each citation is followed by a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph (a.k.a. the annotation).. An organized discussion of published information like surveys scholarly articles, books and other sources (e.g. dissertations, conference proceedings) in a ...

  19. Annotated Bibliography

    The idea of an annotated bibliography is that it gives you a springboard to write your essay. With this nasty (but helpful!) little tool, you compile all of your sources in their proper citation format and then you describe, briefly, what the content of the source is and its significance to your essay. This way, by the time you are done with ...

  20. Writing an Annotated Bibliography

    What is an annotated bibliography? An annotated bibliography is a list of citations for various books, articles, and other sources. The annotated bibliography looks like a Works Cited page but it also includes an annotation after each source cited. Annotated bibliographies are a great research tool.

  21. What is the difference between a literature review and an annotated

    Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other academic texts, with an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion. An annotated bibliography is a list of source references that has a short ...

  22. Difference Between Reference and Bibliography (with Comparison Chart

    Reference, implies referring to someone or something, that means it provides the list of sources, whose text are used in the assignment or research work. Conversely, bibliography represents the list of all the sources, from which the research has gained some information about the topic, irrespective of the work cited or not.

  23. Annotated Bibliography

    An annotated bibliography is a list of cited sources from books, articles, documents, or websites. Some annotated bibliography summarize a source and some evaluate or assess a source. Your professor will specify the type and citation style of annotated bibliography they would like. Sample Annotated Bibliography Entries.

  24. Difference Between Annotated Bibliography and Literature Review

    The difference between annotated bibliography and literature review lies in the way they present information. An annotated bibliography lists the sources separately, followed by short descriptions. But, literature review analyses all the sources together, examining the relationship between them. In addition, differences can also be observed in ...