APA 7th Edition Style Guide
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Sample Annotated Paper - APA Style 7th Edition
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How to Write an Annotated Bibliography
- New RefWorks
- Formatting Citations
- Sample Annotated Bibliographies
An annotation is a brief note following each citation listed on an annotated bibliography. The goal is to briefly summarize the source and/or explain why it is important for a topic. They are typically a single concise paragraph, but might be longer if you are summarizing and evaluating.
Annotations can be written in a variety of different ways and it’s important to consider the style you are going to use. Are you simply summarizing the sources, or evaluating them? How does the source influence your understanding of the topic? You can follow any style you want if you are writing for your own personal research process, but consult with your professor if this is an assignment for a class.
- Combined Informative/Evaluative Style - This style is recommended by the library as it combines all the styles to provide a more complete view of a source. The annotation should explain the value of the source for the overall research topic by providing a summary combined with an analysis of the source.
Aluedse, O. (2006). Bullying in schools: A form of child abuse in schools. Educational Research Quarterly , 30 (1), 37.
The author classifies bullying in schools as a “form of child abuse,” and goes well beyond the notion that schoolyard bullying is “just child’s play.” The article provides an in-depth definition of bullying, and explores the likelihood that school-aged bullies may also experience difficult lives as adults. The author discusses the modern prevalence of bullying in school systems, the effects of bullying, intervention strategies, and provides an extensive list of resources and references.
Statistics included provide an alarming realization that bullying is prevalent not only in the United States, but also worldwide. According to the author, “American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million victims.” The author references the National Association of School Psychologists and quotes, “Thus, one in seven children is a bully or a target of bullying.” A major point of emphasis centers around what has always been considered a “normal part of growing up” versus the levels of actual abuse reached in today’s society.
The author concludes with a section that addresses intervention strategies for school administrators, teachers, counselors, and school staff. The concept of school staff helping build students’ “social competence” is showcased as a prevalent means of preventing and reducing this growing social menace. Overall, the article is worthwhile for anyone interested in the subject matter, and provides a wealth of resources for researching this topic of growing concern.
(Renfrow & Teuton, 2008)
- Informative Style - Similar to an abstract, this style focuses on the summarizing the source. The annotation should identify the hypothesis, results, and conclusions presented by the source.
Plester, B., Wood, C, & Bell, V. (2008). Txt msg n school literacy: Does texting and knowledge of text abbreviations adversely affect children's literacy attainment? Literacy , 42(3), 137-144.
Reports on two studies that investigated the relationship between children's texting behavior, their knowledge of text abbreviations, and their school attainment in written language skills. In Study One, 11 to 12 year-old children reported their texting behavior and translated a standard English sentence into a text message and vice versa. In Study Two, children's performance on writing measures were examined more specifically, spelling proficiency was also assessed, and KS2 Writing scores were obtained. Positive correlations between spelling ability and performance on the translation exercise were found, and group-based comparisons based on the children's writing scores also showed that good writing attainment was associated with greater use of texting abbreviations (textisms), although the direction of this association is not clear. Overall, these findings suggest that children's knowledge of textisms is not associated with poor written language outcomes for children in this age range.
(Beach et al., 2009)
- Evaluative Style - This style analyzes and critically evaluates the source. The annotation should comment on the source's the strengths, weaknesses, and how it relates to the overall research topic.
Amott, T. (1993). Caught in the Crisis: Women in the U.S. Economy Today . New York: Monthly Review Press.
A very readable (140 pp) economic analysis and information book which I am currently considering as a required collateral assignment in Economics 201. Among its many strengths is a lucid connection of "The Crisis at Home" with the broader, macroeconomic crisis of the U.S. working class (which various other authors have described as the shrinking middle class or the crisis of de-industrialization).
- Indicative Style - This style of annotation identifies the main theme and lists the significant topics included in the source. Usually no specific details are given beyond the topic list .
Gambell, T.J., & Hunter, D. M. (1999). Rethinking gender differences in literacy. Canadian Journal of Education , 24(1) 1-16.
Five explanations are offered for recently assessed gender differences in the literacy achievement of male and female students in Canada and other countries. The explanations revolve around evaluative bias, home socialization, role and societal expectations, male psychology, and equity policy.
(Kerka & Imel, 2004)
Beach, R., Bigelow, M., Dillon, D., Dockter, J., Galda, L., Helman, L., . . . Janssen, T. (2009). Annotated Bibliography of Research in the Teaching of English. Research in the Teaching of English, 44 (2), 210-241. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/27784357
Kerka, S., & Imel, S. (2004). Annotated bibliography: Women and literacy. Women's Studies Quarterly, 32 (1), 258-271. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/233645656?accountid=2909
Papadantonakis, K. (1996). Selected Annotated Bibliography for Economists and Other Social Scientists. Women's Studies Quarterly, 24 (3/4), 233-238. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40004384
Renfrow, T.G., & Teuton, L.M. (2008). Schoolyard bullying: Peer victimization an annotated bibliography. Community & Junior College Libraries, 14(4), 251-275. doi:10.1080/02763910802336407
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How to Write a Research Paper: Annotated Bibliography
- Anatomy of a Research Paper
- Developing a Research Focus
- Background Research Tips
- Searching Tips
- Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Journals
- Thesis Statement
- Annotated Bibliography
- Citing Sources
- Evaluating Sources
- Literature Review
- Academic Integrity
- Scholarship as Conversation
- Understanding Fake News
- Data, Information, Knowledge
What is an Annotated Bibliography?
UMary Writing Center
Check out the resources available from the Writing Center .
Write an Annotated Bibliography
What is an annotated bibliography?
It is a list of citations for various books, articles, and other sources on a topic.
An annotation is a short summary and/or critical evaluation of a source.
Annotated bibliographies answer the question: "What would be the most relevant, most useful, or most up-to-date sources for this topic?"
Annotated bibliographies can be part of a larger research project, or can be a stand-alone report in itself.
Annotation versus abstracts
An abstract is a paragraph at the beginning of the paper that discusses the main point of the original work. They typically do not include evaluation comments.
Annotations can either be descriptive or evaluative. The annotated bibliography looks like a works cited page but includes an annotation after each source cited.
Types of Annotations:
Descriptive Annotations: Focuses on description. Describes the source by answering the following questions.
Who wrote the document?
What does the document discuss?
When and where was the document written?
Why was the document produced?
How was it provided to the public?
Evaluative Annotations: Focuses on description and evaluation. Includes a summary and critically assess the work for accuracy, relevance, and quality.
Evaluative annotations help you learn about your topic, develop a thesis statement, decide if a specific source will be useful for your assignment, and determine if there is enough valid information available to complete your project.
What does the annotation include?
Depending on your assignment and style guide, annotations may include some or all of the following information.
- Should be no more than 150 words or 4 to 6 sentences long.
- What is the main focus or purpose of the work?
- Who is the intended audience?
- How useful or relevant was the article to your topic?
- Was there any unique features that useful to you?
- What is the background and credibility of the author?
- What are any conclusions or observations that your reached about the article?
Which citation style to use?
There are many styles manuals with specific instructions on how to format your annotated bibliography. This largely depends on what your instructor prefers or your subject discipline. Check out our citation guides for more information.
Why doesn't APA have an official APA-approved format for annotated bibliographies?
Always consult your instructor about the format of an annotated bibliography for your class assignments. These guides provide you with examples of various styles for annotated bibliographies and they may not be in the format required by your instructor.
Citation Examples and Annotations
Book Citation with Descriptive Annotation
Liroff, R. A., & G. G. Davis. (1981). Protecting open space: Land use control in the Adirondack Park. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger.
This book describes the implementation of regional planning and land use regulation in the Adirondack Park in upstate New York. The authors provide program evaluations of the Adirondack Park Agencys regulatory and local planning assistance programs.
Journal Article Citation with Evaluative Annotation
Gottlieb, P. D. (1995). The “golden egg” as a natural resource: Toward a normative theory of growth management. Society and Natural Resources, 8, (5): 49-56.
This article explains the dilemma faced by North American suburbs, which demand both preservation of local amenities (to protect quality of life) and physical development (to expand the tax base). Growth management has been proposed as a policy solution to this dilemma. An analogy is made between this approach and resource economics. The author concludes that the growth management debate raises legitimate issues of sustainability and efficiency.
Examples were taken from http://lib.calpoly.edu/support/how-to/write-an-annotated-bibliography/#samples
Lee, Seok-hoon, Yong-pil Kim, Nigel Hemmington, and Deok-kyun Yun. “Competitive Service Quality Improvement (CSQI): A Case Study in the Fast-Food Industry.” Food Service Technology 4 (2004): 75-84.
In this highly technical paper, three industrial engineering professors in Korea and one services management professor in the UK discuss the mathematical limitations of the popular SERVQUAL scales. Significantly, they also aim to measure service quality in the fast-food industry, a neglected area of study. Unfortunately, the paper’s sophisticated analytical methods make it inaccessible to all but the most expert of researchers.
Battle, Ken. “Child Poverty: The Evolution and Impact of Child Benefits.” A Question of Commitment: Children's Rights in Canada . Ed. Katherine Covell and R.Brian Howe. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. 2007. 21-44.
Ken Battle draws on a close study of government documents, as well as his own research as an extensively-published policy analyst, to explain Canadian child benefit programs. He outlines some fundamental assumptions supporting the belief that all society members should contribute to the upbringing of children. His comparison of child poverty rates in a number of countries is a useful wake-up to anyone assuming Canadian society is doing a good job of protecting children. Battle pays particular attention to the National Child Benefit (NCB), arguing that it did not deserve to be criticized by politicians and journalists. He outlines the NCB’s development, costs, and benefits, and laments that the Conservative government scaled it back in favour of the inferior Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB). However, he relies too heavily on his own work; he is the sole or primary author of almost half the sources in his bibliography. He could make this work stronger by drawing from others' perspectives and analyses. However, Battle does offer a valuable source for this essay, because the chapter provides a concise overview of government-funded assistance currently available to parents. This offers context for analyzing the scope and financial reality of child poverty in Canada.
Journal Article Example
Kerr, Don and Roderic Beaujot. “Child Poverty and Family Structure in Canada, 1981-1997.” Journal of Comparative Family Studies 34.3 (2003): 321-335.
Sociology professors Kerr and Beaujot analyze the demographics of impoverished families. Drawing on data from Canada’s annual Survey of Consumer Finances, the authors consider whether each family had one or two parents, the age of single parents, and the number of children in each household. They analyze child poverty rates in light of both these demographic factors and larger economic issues. Kerr and Beaujot use this data to argue that.
Examples were taken from http://libguides.enc.edu/writing_basics/ annotatedbib/mla
Check out these resources for more information about Annotated Bibliographies.
- Purdue Owl- Annotated Bibliographies
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill- Annotated Bibliographies
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How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography: The Annotated Bibliography
- The Annotated Bibliography
- Fair Use of this Guide
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.
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.
Tambíen disponible en español: Cómo Preparar una Bibliografía Anotada
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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.
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
- URL: https://libguides.umgc.edu/annotated-bibliography-apa
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- How to create an MLA style annotated bibliography
MLA Style Annotated Bibliography | Format & Examples
Published on July 13, 2021 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on June 14, 2022.
An annotated bibliography is a special assignment that lists sources in a way similar to the MLA Works Cited list, but providing an annotation for each source giving extra information.
You might be assigned an annotated bibliography as part of the research process for a paper , or as an individual assignment.
MLA provides guidelines for writing and formatting your annotated bibliography. An example of a typical annotation is shown below.
Kenny, Anthony. A New History of Western Philosophy: In Four Parts . Oxford UP, 2010.
You can create and manage your annotated bibliography with Scribbr’s free MLA Citation Generator. Choose your source type, retrieve the details, and click “Add annotation.”
Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr
Table of contents, mla format for annotated bibliographies, length and content of annotations, frequently asked questions about annotated bibliographies.
The list should be titled either “Annotated Bibliography” or “Annotated List of Works Cited.” You may be told which title to use; “bibliography” is normally used for a list that also includes sources you didn’t cite in your paper or that isn’t connected to a paper at all.
Sources are usually organized alphabetically , like in a normal Works Cited list, but can instead be organized chronologically or by subject depending on the purpose of the assignment.
The source information is presented and formatted in the same way as in a normal Works Cited entry:
- 0.5 inch hanging indent
The annotation follows on the next line, also double-spaced and left-aligned. The whole annotation is indented 1 inch from the left margin to distinguish it from the 0.5 inch hanging indent of the source entry.
- If the annotation is only one paragraph long, there’s no additional indent for the start of the paragraph.
- If there are two or more paragraphs, indent the first line of each paragraph , including the first, an additional half-inch (so those lines are indented 1.5 inches in total).
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MLA gives some guidelines for writing the annotations themselves. They cover how concise you need to be and what exactly you should write about your sources.
Phrases or full sentences?
MLA states that it’s acceptable to use concise phrases rather than grammatically complete sentences in your annotations.
While you shouldn’t write this way in your main text, it’s acceptable in annotations because the subject of the phrase is clear from the context. It’s also fine to use full sentences instead, if you prefer.
- Broad history of Western philosophy from the ancient Greeks to the present day.
- Kenny presents a broad history of Western philosophy from the ancient Greeks to the present day.
Always use full sentences if your instructor requires you to do so, though.
How many paragraphs?
MLA states that annotations usually aim to be concise and thus are only one paragraph long. However, it’s acceptable to write multiple-paragraph annotations if you need to.
If in doubt, aim to keep your annotations short, but use multiple paragraphs if longer annotations are required for your assignment.
Descriptive, evaluative, or reflective annotations?
MLA states that annotations can describe or evaluate sources, or do both. They shouldn’t go into too much depth quoting or discussing minor details from the source, but aim to write about it in broad terms.
You’ll usually write either descriptive , evaluative , or reflective annotations . If you’re not sure what kind of annotations you need, consult your assignment guidelines or ask your instructor.
An annotated bibliography is an assignment where you collect sources on a specific topic and write an annotation for each source. An annotation is a short text that describes and sometimes evaluates the source.
Any credible sources on your topic can be included in an annotated bibliography . The exact sources you cover will vary depending on the assignment, but you should usually focus on collecting journal articles and scholarly books . When in doubt, utilize the CRAAP test !
Each annotation in an annotated bibliography is usually between 50 and 200 words long. Longer annotations may be divided into paragraphs .
The content of the annotation varies according to your assignment. An annotation can be descriptive, meaning it just describes the source objectively; evaluative, meaning it assesses its usefulness; or reflective, meaning it explains how the source will be used in your own research .
No, in an MLA annotated bibliography , you can write short phrases instead of full sentences to keep your annotations concise. You can still choose to use full sentences instead, though.
Use full sentences in your annotations if your instructor requires you to, and always use full sentences in the main text of your paper .
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Caulfield, J. (2022, June 14). MLA Style Annotated Bibliography | Format & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved November 29, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/mla/mla-annotated-bibliography/
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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.
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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.
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 “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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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This handout provides information about annotated bibliographies in MLA, APA, and CMS.
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.).
An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation. Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources. Depending on your project or the assignment, your annotations may do one or more of the following.
For more help, see our handout on paraphrasing sources.
For more help, see our handouts on evaluating resources .
- 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. If you're doing this for a class, you should get specific guidelines from your instructor.
Why should I write an annotated bibliography?
To learn about your topic : 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. At the professional level, annotated bibliographies allow you to see what has been done in the literature and where your own research or scholarship can fit. To help you formulate a thesis: 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.
To help other researchers : Extensive and scholarly annotated bibliographies are sometimes published. They provide a comprehensive overview of everything important that has been and is being said about that topic. You may not ever get your annotated bibliography published, but as a researcher, you might want to look for one that has been published about your topic.
The format of an annotated bibliography can vary, so if you're doing one for a class, it's important to ask for specific guidelines.
The bibliographic information : Generally, though, the bibliographic information of the source (the title, author, publisher, date, etc.) is written in either MLA or APA format. For more help with formatting, see our MLA handout . For APA, go here: APA handout .
The annotations: The annotations for each source are written in paragraph form. The lengths of the annotations can vary significantly from a couple of sentences to a couple of pages. The length will depend on the purpose. If you're just writing summaries of your sources, the annotations may not be very long. However, if you are writing an extensive analysis of each source, you'll need more space.
You can focus your annotations for your own needs. A few sentences of general summary followed by several sentences of how you can fit the work into your larger paper or project can serve you well when you go to draft.
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.
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?
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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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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.
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.
- MLA 9th Sample Annotated Bibliography
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).
- APA 7th Sample Annotated Bibliography
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How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography
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SAMPLE DESCRIPTIVE ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY ENTRY FOR A JOURNAL ARTICLE
The following example uses the APA format 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 (4), 541-554.
This example uses the MLA format for the journal citation. NOTE: Standard MLA practice requires double spacing within citations.
Waite, Linda J., Frances Kobrin Goldscheider, and Christina Witsberger. "Nonfamily Living and the Erosion of Traditional Family Orientations Among Young Adults." American Sociological Review 51.4 (1986): 541-554. Print.
More Sample Annotations
- Annotated Bibliography Examples
- Annotated Bibliography Samples
The University of Toronto offers an example that illustrates how to summarize a study's research methods and argument.
The Memorial University of Newfoundland presents these examples of both descriptive and critical annotations.
The Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin gives examples of the some of the most common forms of annotated bibliographies.
The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina gives examples of several different forms of annotated bibliographies in 3 popular citation formats:
- MLA Example
- APA Example
- CBE Example
This page was adapted with permission from the following:
How to prepare an annotated bibliography Research & Learning Services Olin Library Cornell University Library Ithaca, NY, USA
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VII. Researched Writing
7.7 Writing an Annotated Bibliography
Emilie Zickel; Melanie Gagich; and Terri Pantuso
As you are gathering sources in your research, you will want to keep track of which information comes from what source. While other strategies have been discussed such as note taking, some researchers use an annotated bibliography for long term reference purposes. As the name implies, an annotated bibliography is the bibliographical reference of a given source along with key information from that source that you may use for future reference. As assignment parameters will vary by instructor, generally speaking the annotations are 150-200 words in length per source and do not include quoted material. The purpose of the annotations is to summarize the material within the context of your thesis statement.
Annotated Bibliographies follow a common structure and format. Below is an explanation of the elements and format of an annotated bibliography.
Components of an Annotated Bibliography
An annotation often offers a summary of a source that you intend to use for a research project as well as some assessment of the source’s relevance to your project or quality and credibility. There are two key components for each source: the citation and the annotation.
The Annotated Bibliography Samples page  on the Purdue OWL offers examples of general formatting guidelines for both an MLA and an APA Annotated Bibliography.
You will provide the full bibliographic reference for the source: author, title, source title, and other required information depending on the type of source. This will be formatted just as it would be in a typical Works Cited for an MLA paper or a References page for an APA paper.
Tone and Style
Some elements can vary depending on the style you are using (e.g., APA or MLA). Be sure to review your style guide along with your assignment sheet. Generally speaking, use the following as a guide:
- Use signal phrases to refer to the author(s).
- Always maintain a neutral tone and use the third-person point of view and correct tense according to style guide (present tense for MLA, past tense for APA) (i.e., Tompkins asserts… ).
- Keep the focus of the summary on the text, not on what you think of it, and try to put as most of the summary as you can in your own words. If you must use exact phrases from the source that you are summarizing, you must quote and cite them.
- Annotations should not be a replication of the abstract provided by the source.
What to Include in Annotations
- After the bibliographical information, begin to discuss the source. Begin with a general summary of the source. Describe the key sections of the text and their corresponding main points. Try to avoid focusing on details; a summary covers the essential points and typically does not include quoted material.
- Evaluate the source’s credibility or relevance. Is the author an expert on the topic? How do you know? Is the source peer-reviewed or otherwise credible in nature? How do you know? What makes this source a good one to use?
- Discuss how you plan to integrate the source in your paper. Do you need to point out similarities or differences with other sources in the annotated bibliography? How does it support (or refute) your intended thesis?
Review your Annotated Bibliography assignment sheet for additional content requirements . Instructors often require more than a simple summary of each source, and specific requirements may vary. Any (or all) of these aspects may be required in an annotated bibliography, depending on how or if your instructor has designed this assignment as part of a larger research project.
This section contains material from:
Gagich, Melanie, and Emilie Zickel. “Keeping Track of Your Sources and Writing an Annotated Bibliography.” In A Guide to Rhetoric, Genre, and Success in First-Year Writing . Cleveland: MSL Academic Endeavors. Accessed July 2019. https://pressbooks.ulib.csuohio.edu/csu-fyw-rhetoric/chapter/annotated-bibliography/ . Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License . Archival link: https://web.archive.org/web/20201027005500/https://pressbooks.ulib.csuohio.edu/csu-fyw-rhetoric/chapter/annotated-bibliography/
OER credited in the text above includes:
Jeffrey, Robin. About Writing: A Guide . Portland, OR: Open Oregon Educational Resources. Accessed December 18, 2020. https://openoregon.pressbooks.pub/aboutwriting/ . Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License . Archival link: https://web.archive.org/web/20230711210756/https://openoregon.pressbooks.pub/aboutwriting/
- "Annotated Bibliography Samples," Purdue Online Writing Lab, accessed December 20, 2021, https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/common_writing_assignments/annotated_bibliographies/annotated_bibliography_samples.html . ↵
A statement, usually one sentence, that summarizes an argument that will later be explained, expanded upon, and developed in a longer essay or research paper. In undergraduate writing, a thesis statement is often found in the introductory paragraph of an essay. The plural of thesis is theses .
7.7 Writing an Annotated Bibliography Copyright © 2023 by Emilie Zickel; Melanie Gagich; and Terri Pantuso is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
How to write an annotation.
One of the greatest challenges students face is adjusting to college reading expectations. Unlike high school, students in college are expected to read more “academic” type of materials in less time and usually recall the information as soon as the next class.
The problem is many students spend hours reading and have no idea what they just read. Their eyes are moving across the page, but their mind is somewhere else. The end result is wasted time, energy, and frustration…and having to read the text again.
Although students are taught how to read at an early age, many are not taught how to actively engage with written text or other media. Annotation is a tool to help you learn how to actively engage with a text or other media.
View the following video about how to annotate a text.
Annotating a text or other media (e.g. a video, image, etc.) is as much about you as it is the text you are annotating. What are YOUR responses to the author’s writing, claims and ideas? What are YOU thinking as you consider the work? Ask questions, challenge, think!
When we annotate an author’s work, our minds should encounter the mind of the author, openly and freely. If you met the author at a party, what would you like to tell to them; what would you like to ask them? What do you think they would say in response to your comments? You can be critical of the text, but you do not have to be. If you are annotating properly, you often begin to get ideas that have little or even nothing to do with the topic you are annotating. That’s fine: it’s all about generating insights and ideas of your own. Any good insight is worth keeping because it may make for a good essay or research paper later on.
The Secret is in the Pen
One of the ways proficient readers read is with a pen in hand. They know their purpose is to keep their attention on the material by:
- Predicting what the material will be about
- Questioning the material to further understanding
- Determining what’s important
- Identifying key vocabulary
- Summarizing the material in their own words, and
- Monitoring their comprehension (understanding) during and after engaging with the material
The same applies for mindfully viewing a film, video, image or other media.
Annotating a Text
Review the video, “How to Annotate a Text.” Pay attention to both how to make annotations and what types of thoughts and ideas may be part of your annotations as you actively read a written text.
Example Assignment Format: Annotating a Written Text
For the annotation of reading assignments in this class, you will cite and comment on a minimum of FIVE (5) phrases, sentences or passages from notes you take on the selected readings.
Here is an example format for an assignment to annotate a written text:
Example Assignment Format: Annotating Media
In addition to annotating written text, at times you will have assignments to annotate media (e.g., videos, images or other media). For the annotation of media assignments in this class, you will cite and comment on a minimum of THREE (3) statements, facts, examples, research or any combination of those from the notes you take about selected media.
Here is an example format for an assignment to annotate media:
- Provided by : Lumen Learning. Located at : http://www.lumenlearning.com/ . License : CC BY: Attribution
- Authored by : Paul Powell . Provided by : Central Community College. Project : Kaleidoscope Open Course Initiative. License : CC BY: Attribution
- Authored by : Elisabeth Ellington and Ronda Dorsey Neugebauer . Provided by : Chadron State College. Project : Kaleidoscope Open Course Initiative. License : CC BY: Attribution
- Annotating a Text. Authored by : HaynesEnglish. Located at : http://youtu.be/pf9CTJj9dCM . License : All Rights Reserved . License Terms : Standard YouTube license
- How to Annotate a Text. Authored by : Kthiebau90. Located at : http://youtu.be/IzrWOj0gWHU . License : All Rights Reserved . License Terms : Standard YouTube License
Writing an Annotated Bibliography for a Paper
Providing an Overview of Research Published on a Given Topic
- Writing Research Papers
- Writing Essays
- English Grammar
- M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
- B.A., History, Armstrong State University
An annotated bibliography is an expanded version of a regular bibliography —those lists of sources you find at the end of a research paper or book. The difference is that an annotated bibliography contains an added feature: a paragraph or annotation under each bibliographical entry.
The purpose of the annotated bibliography is to provide the reader with a complete overview of the articles and books that have been written about a certain subject. Learning some background about annotated bibliographies—as well as a few key steps to writing one—will help you to quickly create an effective annotated bibliography for your assignment or research paper.
Annotated Bibliography Features
The annotated bibliography gives your readers a glimpse of the work a professional researcher would do. Every published article provides statements about prior research on the topic at hand.
A teacher may require that you write an annotated bibliography as the first step of a big research assignment. You would most likely write an annotated bibliography first and then follow with a research paper using the sources you've found.
But you may find that your annotated bibliography is an assignment on its own: It can also stand alone as a research project, and some annotated bibliographies are published. A stand-alone annotated bibliography (one that is not followed by a research paper assignment) would most likely be longer than a first-step version.
How It Should Look
Write the annotated bibliography just like a normal bibliography, but add between one and five concise sentences under each bibliographical entry. Your sentences should summarize the source content and explain how or why the source is important. Things you might mention include whether the:
- Thesis of the source is one you support or don't support
- Author has a unique experience or point of view related to your topic
- Source provides a sound basis for a paper you intend to write, leaves some questions unanswered, or has a political bias
How to Write an Annotated Bibliography
Find a few good sources for your research, and then expand by consulting the bibliographies of those sources. They will lead you to additional sources. The number of sources will depend on the depth of your research.
Determine how deeply you need to read each of these sources. Sometime you'll be expected to read each source carefully before putting it into your annotated bibliography; in other cases, skimming the source will be sufficient.
When you are doing an initial investigation of all of the sources available, your teacher may not expect you to read each source thoroughly. Instead, you likely will be expected to read parts of the sources to learn the essence of the content. Before beginning, check with your teacher to determine whether you have to read every word of every source that you plan to include.
Alphabetize your entries, just as you would in a normal bibliography.
- Abstract Writing for Sociology
- Bibliography: Definition and Examples
- How to Develop a Research Paper Timeline
- Finding Trustworthy Sources
- What Is a Bibliography?
- How to Write a Research Paper That Earns an A
- What Is a Research Paper?
- How to Write a Solid Thesis Statement
- What Is an Annotated Bibliography?
- Writing a Paper about an Environmental Issue
- Research Note Cards
- How to Write a Bibliography For a Science Fair Project
- How to Find Trustworthy Sources
- How to Write an Abstract for a Scientific Paper
- Finding Sources for Death Penalty Research
- How to Write a News Article That's Effective
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- Writing Guide
- Writing Preparations
- Narrow Your Topic
- Research Planning
- Grammar & Writing
- Evaluating Sources
- Abstract & Annotated Bibliography
- Paper Properties
- Revision Checklist
- Group Projects
Abstract apa formatting , abstract .
Begin the abstract on a new page
Identify it with the running head and page number 2
Label "Abstract" should appear in upper and lower case letters
- At top of the abstract
Abstract itself is double spaced paragraph without paragraph indentation
Times Roman typeface
You may also want to list keywords from your paper in your abstract. To do this, indent as you would if you were starting a new paragraph, type Keywords: (italicized), and then list your keywords. Listing your keywords will help researchers find your work in databases.
Annotated Bibliography APA Formatting
Annotated Bibliography includes:
The bibliographic information of the source
- APA Format
The annotation follows the citation on the next line.
- The length can vary from a couple of sentences to a page.
- The length will depend on the purpose.
What is an Abstract & an Annotated Bibliography?
A brief summary of the research contents Provides quick information about the topic including problem, methodology, participants (if any), findings, and conclusion. Qualities of a good abstract:
- Active Voice
- Present verb tense to describe conclusions
- Past verb tense to describe specific variables manipulates or outcomes measures
An annotated bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, websites, periodicals, etc.). An annotated bibliography includes a summary and/ or evaluation of each other sources. Depending on the assignment, your annotation may do one or more of the following:
Annotated bibliographies are useful when organizing sources for research projects.
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MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition): Annotated Bibliography
- What Kind of Source Is This?
- Books, eBooks & Pamphlets
- Book Reviews
- Class Handouts, Presentations, and Readings
- Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
- Government Documents
- Images, Artwork, Charts, Graphs & Tables
- Interviews and Emails (Personal Communications)
- Journal Articles
- Magazine Articles
- Newspaper Articles
- Primary Sources
- Religious Texts
- Social Media
- Videos & DVDs
- In-Text Citation
- Works Quoted in Another Source
- No Author, No Date etc.
- Works Cited List & Sample Paper
- Annotated Bibliography
- Powerpoint Presentations
Annotated Bibliography Template
- MLA Annotated Bibliography Template
This sample annotated bibliography shows you the structure you should use to write an MLA annotated bibliography and gives examples of evaluative and summary annotations.
It can be used as a template to set up your assignment.
What is an Annotated Bibliography?
Useful Links for Annotated Bibliographies
- Annotated Bibliographies Overview of purpose and form of annotated bibliographies from the Purdue OWL.
- Annotated Bibliography Sample Sample annotations in an MLA and an APA annotated bibliography. From the Purdue OWL.
- Annotated Bibliography Breakdown An example of an MLA annotated bibliography. From the Purdue OWL.
An annotated bibliography is a list of citations for various books, articles, and other sources on a topic. The annotated bibliography looks like a Works Cited 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 project, or can be a stand-alone report in itself.
Types of Annotations
A summary annotation describes the source by answering the following questions: who wrote the document, what the document discusses, when and where was the document written, why was the document produced, and how was it provided to the public. The focus is on description.
An evaluative annotation includes a summary as listed above but also critically assesses the work for accuracy, relevance, and quality. Evaluative annotations can help you learn about your topic, develop a thesis statement, decide if a specific source will be useful for your assignment, and determine if there is enough valid information available to complete your project. The focus is on description and evaluation.
Writing an Evaluative 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.
Basic Tips on Writing and Formatting
- Each annotation should be one paragraph, between three to six sentences long (about 150- 200 words).
- Start with the same format as a regular Works Cited list.
- All lines should be double-spaced. Do not add an extra line between the citations.
- If your list of citations is especially long, you can organize it by topic.
- Try to be objective, and give explanations if you state any opinions.
- Use the third person (e.g., he, she, the author) instead of the first person (e.g., I, my, me)
Sample Evaluative Annotation
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.
"How to Write Annotated Bibliographies." Memorial University Libraries , www.library.mun.ca/researchtools/guides/writing/annotated_bibl/. Accessed 29 June 2016.
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The best AI tools for writing a research paper
Research papers may be the most dreaded of academic assignments, even before you hit the Master’s or PhD level, never mind your post-grad career. Thankfully there are now a number of generative AI tools that can speed up research writing, and we’ve gathered some of the better ones into a handy list.
While you’ll see some familiar names on here, it’s worth reminding everyone that in an academic environment, AI can potentially be a minefield. Some uses of it are considered cheating or otherwise unethical, especially if you plagiarize content. When that worry is eliminated, you still need to doublecheck the style, grammar, facts, and/or sources of any AI output.
Grammarly’s main purpose is of course correcting spelling, grammar, and punctuation. But it can also recommend changes to the tone or formality of your language, and most importantly for research papers, there’s a beta citation generator. That feature supports APA, MLA, and Chicago styles, so as a student at least, you should be covered.
Note that while there’s a free version of Grammarly, you’ll need to upgrade to a Premium plan to get things like full-sentence rewrites, formatting help, and plagiarism detection. The upgraded version can even help with English fluency if that’s a second language and you’re not used to cultural conventions. Premium further bumps up the number of AI prompts you can use from 100 per month to 1,000.
This tool focuses exclusively on paper discovery. On top of enabling manual searches and a personal library, though, it can also recommend related papers and authors, and update you on the latest material connected to your research. If you like, you can collaborate with others, or check out a visual map of a paper’s links.
The best part is that ResearchRabbit is entirely supported by donations, so if you’re a struggling grad student, there’s no need to pay for the convenience. Go ahead and save your cash for food, rent, and student loans.
Scholarcy promises to do the hard part with a lot of outside source material — summarize it so you get the gist. The tool is said to work with books and papers alike, and extract vital information such as findings, limitations, and data analyses. The result is a flashcard, but with links to sources, and the ability to choose what appears. If you need the tables from scientific papers, for instance, you can force Scholarcy to include them.
An extension for Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge supports open repositories like arXiv and biorXiv. In fact you can use this for free, though you’re limited to small- to medium-sized documents, and you’ll need to sign up for a subscription if you want to save summaries to your Scholarcy Library. A subscription also gets you sharing, annotation, and export options, as well as the ability to import from Dropbox, Google Drive, or custom RSS feeds.
While Scite might in some ways serve same purpose as ResearchRabbit — hunting down papers — it goes a lot further. You can ask it general knowledge questions and get answers with cited sources, or doublecheck the sources for claims you’ve read elsewhere, such as ChatGPT . When searching for material, you can apply numerous filters including authorship, institutional affiliation, or how many citations mention, support, or contrast a particular paper.
You can even check how often your own material is being cited, or get aggregate insights and notifications based on your collections. It’s serious stuff, and once your trial period expires, you’ll need to pay $144 per year or $20 per month unless you’re lucky enough to fall under a university or corporate plan.
If Scite can be considered a step up from ResearchRabbit, the same might be said about Trinka versus Grammarly. Trinka is specifically aimed at fixing academic and technical writing, including style, grammar, and jargon issues. It’s based on the APA and AMA style guides, and it always aims for a formal tone.
There’s a host of additional features here, including paraphrasing, citation and plagiarism checking, and analysis to find an ideal journal to publish in. Plug-ins are available for Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Microsoft Word. A Safari plug-in is promised sometime in the future.
If all you want is small-scale help with grammar, paraphrasing, and plagiarism, there’s a free version of Trinka which supports Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. You’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan, however, if you want to lift usage caps and take advantage of Word integration.
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Employment Research in Brief: An Annotated Bibliography of ETA- and CEO-Sponsored Studies 2012–2016
Publication info, research methodology, country, state or territory, description, other products.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) sponsors numerous research studies, evaluations, pilots, and demonstrations on a broad range of topics relevant to the agency’s mission. This annotated bibliography provides abstracts of impact evaluations and other systematic analyses funded by ETA and published on ETA’s Research Publication Database or DOL’s Chief Evaluation Office research page from 2012 through June 2016, as selected by researchers from Mathematica Policy Research with guidance from ETA staff. The summarized publications include research, evaluation, and demonstration reports, as well as other papers and sets of policy recommendations. Each abstract provides a brief overview of the intervention studied, the type of research, data sources, analytical methods, and findings. These publications were not reviewed for quality or strength of design, and their inclusion in this bibliography does not imply any endorsement of their design, methods, or content by ETA or Mathematica.
This bibliography is organized along eight major topic areas: training programs under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA); training programs other than WIA; services to military personnel, veterans, or military spouses; population-specific programs; trade adjustment assistance; unemployment insurance; labor market information (LMI); and regional economic development. Within some topics, publications are categorized under more specific sub-topic headings. Publications related to more than one topic are summarized in the section where they are most relevant. For publications that do not cover a specific program area or grant program, the annotated bibliography classifies them according to the most relevant topic area and describes the logic for its inclusion in the topic summary.
Citation Examples for APA, MLA, and Chicago Style Guides
You may think citing sources for research papers is confusing . . . because it absolutely is! It’s one thing to memorize the precise format for your sources’ information, but it’s another thing to know the precise formats required by APA, MLA, and Chicago style guides.
Because different styles have different citation formats, we thought showing you some citation examples in research papers would help you learn to tell the difference. Feel free to use this guide as a resource to help you get the perfect citation, no matter what style you use.
Cite your sources with confidence Grammarly helps you avoid plagiarism Write with Grammarly
How to use citation examples in research
In-text citations vs. full citations, parenthetical citations vs. narrative citations, apa citation examples, apa in-text citation examples, apa citation examples: book.
- APA citation examples: Journal Article
APA citation examples: Website
Apa citation examples: video, apa citation examples: ai, mla citation examples, mla in-text citation examples, mla citation examples: book.
- MLA citation examples: Journal Article
MLA citation examples: Website
Mla citation examples: video, mla citation examples: ai, chicago citation examples, chicago in-text citation examples, chicago citation examples: book.
- Chicago citation examples: Journal Article
Chicago citation examples: Website
Chicago citation examples: video, chicago citation examples: ai, citation examples for multiple authors, apa citation examples for more than one author, mla citation examples for more than one author, chicago citation examples for more than one author.
In academic writing like research papers , you must cite your source for each piece of information that’s not your own . In informal writing like personal essays, you are your own source, so you don’t need a citation. But for writing that uses information from outside books, articles, websites, videos, or even AI, citations are necessary.
The tricky part is that each style has its own particular way of citing sources. Most academic papers are written in one of the three main styles:
- Chicago format
Each of these styles has different rules for what information to include in citations, as well as unique guidelines for particulars like capitalization, the use of italics, and the order in which the information comes. (For more details, read our direct comparison of MLA vs. APA .)
In this blog post, we share citation examples of each style for different types of sources. But first, let’s talk a little about the different types of citations you’ll be using in formal writing.
The two main types of citations are in-text citations and full citations.
In-text citations appear in the body text of the paper and provide the bare minimum of information to identify the source. These usually include the author’s name and sometimes a page number or publication date. They can be either parenthetical or narrative, which we explain below. Alternatively, if you’re using Chicago style, you have the option to use footnotes as in-text citations.
Full citations appear in the bibliography at the end of the text and contain all the relevant information from a source. The idea is that, if your reader is interested in learning more about one of your sources, they can find it in the full citation. Full citations are written in a particular way, and different styles have their own rules for what information goes where.
In APA, the bibliography is called a reference page ; in MLA, it’s called a works cited page . Only Chicago uses the term “bibliography.”
In-text citations can be either parenthetical citations or narrative citations. A parenthetical citation puts a brief credit in parentheses after the related piece of information. Here’s an in-text citation example in APA:
Not all experiments use a placebo group because “if your patients are ill, you shouldn’t be leaving them untreated simply because of your own mawkish interest in the placebo effect” (Goldacre, 2008, p. 60) .
A narrative citation, on the other hand, gives credit in the body text itself, such as by mentioning the author by name. Typically, any information not included in the text is still placed in an abbreviated parenthetical citation afterward.
Not all experiments use a placebo group because, as Ben Goldacre wrote , “if your patients are ill, you shouldn’t be leaving them untreated simply because of your own mawkish interest in the placebo effect” (2008, p. 60) .
Our in-text citation examples below are for standard parenthetical citations. Just remember if you mention the author, page, or year in the main text, you can remove it from the parenthetical citation.
In-text citations in APA use what’s called the author-date style , which includes the author’s last name and the year of publication, separated with commas.
If citing a specific piece of information or a direct quote, also include the location, such as a page number or timestamp. Use the abbreviations p. for page , pp. for pages , and paras. for paragraphs . For general information, such as a concept discussed throughout the source, no location is needed.
(Last Name, Year, p. #)
(Goldacre, 2008, p. 60)
To cite a book in APA , you need the author’s name, year of publication, book title, and publisher. The author’s name is written as “last name, first name initial,” as in “Shakespeare, W.” Titles use sentence-style capitalization, which means only the first letter of the first word in the title (and subtitle, if applicable) are capitalized. If the book edition is relevant, place it in parentheses after the title.
Last name, First name initial. (Year of publication). Title . Publisher.
Goldacre, B. (2008). Bad science. Fourth Estate.
APA citation examples: Journal article
Citing an article in APA requires the author’s last name and first initial; the full date of publication, including month and day if applicable; and the titles of both the article and the journal/periodical, as well as the page number. Note that, unlike MLA and Chicago styles, APA doesn’t abbreviate months in citations.
Last name, First name initial. (Year, Month Day of publication). Article title. Magazine name, volume (issue), page range. DOI
Cardanay, A. (2016, January 12). Illustrating motion, music, and story. General Music Today, 29 (3), 25–29. doi:10.1177/1048371315626498
To cite a website in APA , follow the same format you use to cite journal articles, except without volume, issue, or page numbers. Website citations in APA include a URL, however. If the website represents a print publication, italicize the title. If not, italicize the article name.
Last name, First name initial. (Year, Month Day of publication). Title of article, post, or page. Website. URL
Hudson, J. (2023, November 12). What Taylor Swift can teach us about leadership. Forbes . https://www.forbes.com/sites/jameshudson/2023/11/12/what-taylor-swift-can-teach-us-about-leadership/
To cite YouTube in APA , as well as any online video, you need to include both the uploader’s real name and username, the date posted, the video title, the website name, and the URL. You also need to include the word “Video” in brackets after the video title to show what kind of source it is.
Real last name, First initial. [Username]. (Year, Month Day). Video title [Video]. Website. URL.
Desmond, W. [TED-Ed]. (2019, December 19). The philosophy of cynicism [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Utzym1I_BiY
According to the APA website, AI citations in APA should be treated as an “algorithm’s output.” You cite the company that built it as the author, the name of the AI as the title, and the year you interacted with it as the date of publication. You should also include the version you used and a descriptor like “large language model” in brackets, followed by the URL.
Company. (Year). AI Name (version) [Descriptor]. URL
OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (March 14 version) [Large language model]. https://chat.openai.com/chat
For MLA, in-text citations use only the author’s last name and the page number or timestamp, without abbreviations or commas.
(Last name #)
To cite a book in MLA , you need the author’s name, book title, place of publication, publisher’s name, and the date of publication. The author’s name is inverted, with the last name coming before the first name. Most parts are separated by periods, except for the author’s names and publication information, which are separated by commas. Titles use title capitalization, which capitalizes the first letter of each major word.
Last name, First name. Book Title . Place of publication, Publisher, publication date.
Goldacre, Ben. Bad Science . London, Fourth Estate, 2008.
MLA citation examples: Journal article
Citing an article in MLA is similar to citing a journal article in other styles, although MLA uses abbreviations for volume (vol.) and issue number (no.), as well as pages (pp.). If you found the article online, you also need to include the database name in italics and the URL or DOI.
Last name, First name. “Title of article.” Journal , vol. #, no. #, Day Month Year of publication, pp. #–#. Database , DOI or URL.
Cardanay, Audrey. “Illustrating Motion, Music, and Story.” General Music Today , vol. 29, no. 3, 2016, pp. 25–29. Academic Search Premier , doi:10.1177/1048371315626498.
To cite a website in MLA , include the page or article title in quotes and the name of the website in italics. In addition to the publication date and URL, you also need to mention the date you visited the website, using the word “Accessed.”
Last name, First name. “Page or Article Title.” Website , Day Month Year of publication, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.
Hudson, James. “What Taylor Swift Can Teach Us about Leadership.” Forbes , 12 Nov. 2023, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jameshudson/2023/11/12/what-taylor-swift-can-teach-us-about-leadership/. Accessed 13 Nov. 2023.
Citing YouTube in MLA is similar to citing videos in APA, although the information goes in different places. Additionally, you need either the creator’s real name or username, but not both.
Username or Last name, First name. “Title.” Website , Day Month Year, URL.
Desmond, William. “The Philosophy of Cynicism.” YouTube , 19 Dec. 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Utzym1I_BiY.
AI citations in MLA ignore the author altogether and use the AI prompt (what you typed into the chat) as the title. MLA uses “containers” for sources within larger works, and for AI the container is the name of the AI. You also need the version, company (as the publisher), date accessed, and URL.
“Entered text” prompt. AI Name , version, Company, Day Month Year, URL.
“Citation examples for research” prompt. ChatGPT , GPT-4, OpenAI, 15 Nov. 2023, chat.openai.com/chat.
In Chicago, you can choose either parenthetical citations or footnotes for in-text citations. Chicago’s parenthetical citations also use an author-date style just like APA citations; however, there is no comma between the author and year (although there is a comma between the year and the location). Chicago citations do not use abbreviations for page numbers.
(Last Name Year, #)
(Goldacre 2008, 60)
Citing a book in Chicago uses the author’s name, book title, place of publication, publisher, and year of publication. You also include the edition, but only if it’s relevant. The author’s name is inverted, and the title uses title capitalization.
Last Name, First Name. Book Title: Subtitle . Edition (if applicable). Place of Publication: Publisher, Year.
Goldacre, Ben. Bad Science . London: Fourth Estate, 2008.
Chicago citation examples: Journal article
Citing an article in Chicago is most similar to citing an article in MLA, including the type of information to include and the use of abbreviations. Pay attention to the citation examples to see the correct order and punctuation to use; note that in Chicago the volume number directly follows the journal title and is not separated by a comma or preceded by the word “vol.”
Last name, First name. “Article title.” Journal vol. #, no. # (Year): #–#. Database or article URL.
Cardanay, Audrey. “Illustrating Motion, Music, and Story.” General Music Today 29, no. 3 (2016): 25–29. Academic Search Premier.
Compared to citing a website in other styles, citing a website in Chicago is more straightforward. Include all the relevant information, put the article or page title in quotations, and don’t worry about italics or the date you visited (unless the website does not have a publication date; in that case, include the date you accessed the site where you would normally put the publication date).
Last name, First name. “Article or Page Title.” Website, Month Day, Year of publication. URL.
Hudson, James. “What Taylor Swift Can Teach Us about Leadership.” Forbes, Nov. 12, 2023. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jameshudson/2023/11/12/what-taylor-swift-can-teach-us-about-leadership/
To cite YouTube in Chicago , you need to include all the standard information, such as the creator’s name, the title of the video, and the website that hosts it, as well as the date and URL. Unlike other formats, Chicago also requires the total video length written in XX:XX format. You also need to mention the source format (“video”) after naming the website.
Uploader. “Title.” Website and format, duration. Month Day, Year of publication. URL.
TED-Ed. “The Philosophy of Cynicism.” YouTube video, 5:25. Dec. 19, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Utzym1I_BiY.
AI citations in Chicago work differently than in other styles; Chicago considers AI conversations as “personal communication” because they’re non-retrievable—meaning other people can’t access the same conversation you had. Consequently, do not include AI chatbots in the bibliography ; mention them only as personal communications if necessary.
However, you still need to use in-text citations for AI in Chicago. For parenthetical citations, you can use the name of the AI as the author and when you had the conversation as the publication date.
APA, MLA, and Chicago formats all have different guidelines for citing more than one author. Here are some quick reference tips on how each does it:
Each author in an APA citation is written in the format of Last name, First Initial. Place authors in the same order as the publication lists them, which may not necessarily be alphabetical. Separate each name with a comma and add an ampersand (&) before the last author’s name.
Marieb, E., & Keller, S. (2018). Essentials of human anatomy & physiology (12th ed.) . Pearson.
In-text citations in APA for two authors use both authors’ last names, connected with an ampersand. For more than two authors, use only the first author’s last name and the phrase et al.
(Marieb & Keller, 2018)
(Marieb et al., 2018)
If an MLA citation has two authors, list them both in the full citation but invert only the first name. Separate them with a comma and the word and .
Cohn, Rachel, and David Levithan. Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares . Ember Publishing House, 2011.
In-text citations use both last names with and .
(Cohn and Levitation 55)
For more than two authors, use only the first author’s name and the phrase et al. in both the full and in-text citation.
Heffernan, James, et al. Writing: A College Handbook . New York, W. W. Norton & Company, 2000.
(Heffernan et al. 27)
In the bibliography, Chicago citations list the names of up to ten authors, separated by commas and with the word and before the last author. For more than ten authors, list only the first seven and then add et al . Only the first name is inverted.
Gyatso, Tenzin, and Howard Cutler. The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living . Norwalk: Easton Press, 1998.
In-text citations list the last names of up to three authors, separated by commas (if there are more than two), and the word and before the final name. For four or more authors, use only the first author’s last name and the phrase et al .
(Gyatso and Cutler 1998)
(Gyatso et al. 1998)
Cite your sources with Grammarly
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What is a thesis statement.
Your thesis statement is one of the most important parts of your paper. It expresses your main argument succinctly and explains why your argument is historically significant. Think of your thesis as a promise you make to your reader about what your paper will argue. Then, spend the rest of your paper–each body paragraph–fulfilling that promise.
Your thesis should be between one and three sentences long and is placed at the end of your introduction. Just because the thesis comes towards the beginning of your paper does not mean you can write it first and then forget about it. View your thesis as a work in progress while you write your paper. Once you are satisfied with the overall argument your paper makes, go back to your thesis and see if it captures what you have argued. If it does not, then revise it. Crafting a good thesis is one of the most challenging parts of the writing process, so do not expect to perfect it on the first few tries. Successful writers revise their thesis statements again and again.
A successful thesis statement:
- makes an historical argument
- takes a position that requires defending
- is historically specific
- is focused and precise
- answers the question, “so what?”
How to write a thesis statement:
Suppose you are taking an early American history class and your professor has distributed the following essay prompt:
“Historians have debated the American Revolution’s effect on women. Some argue that the Revolution had a positive effect because it increased women’s authority in the family. Others argue that it had a negative effect because it excluded women from politics. Still others argue that the Revolution changed very little for women, as they remained ensconced in the home. Write a paper in which you pose your own answer to the question of whether the American Revolution had a positive, negative, or limited effect on women.”
Using this prompt, we will look at both weak and strong thesis statements to see how successful thesis statements work.
While this thesis does take a position, it is problematic because it simply restates the prompt. It needs to be more specific about how the Revolution had a limited effect on women and why it mattered that women remained in the home.
Revised Thesis: The Revolution wrought little political change in the lives of women because they did not gain the right to vote or run for office. Instead, women remained firmly in the home, just as they had before the war, making their day-to-day lives look much the same.
This revision is an improvement over the first attempt because it states what standards the writer is using to measure change (the right to vote and run for office) and it shows why women remaining in the home serves as evidence of limited change (because their day-to-day lives looked the same before and after the war). However, it still relies too heavily on the information given in the prompt, simply saying that women remained in the home. It needs to make an argument about some element of the war’s limited effect on women. This thesis requires further revision.
Strong Thesis: While the Revolution presented women unprecedented opportunities to participate in protest movements and manage their family’s farms and businesses, it ultimately did not offer lasting political change, excluding women from the right to vote and serve in office.
Few would argue with the idea that war brings upheaval. Your thesis needs to be debatable: it needs to make a claim against which someone could argue. Your job throughout the paper is to provide evidence in support of your own case. Here is a revised version:
Strong Thesis: The Revolution caused particular upheaval in the lives of women. With men away at war, women took on full responsibility for running households, farms, and businesses. As a result of their increased involvement during the war, many women were reluctant to give up their new-found responsibilities after the fighting ended.
Sexism is a vague word that can mean different things in different times and places. In order to answer the question and make a compelling argument, this thesis needs to explain exactly what attitudes toward women were in early America, and how those attitudes negatively affected women in the Revolutionary period.
Strong Thesis: The Revolution had a negative impact on women because of the belief that women lacked the rational faculties of men. In a nation that was to be guided by reasonable republican citizens, women were imagined to have no place in politics and were thus firmly relegated to the home.
This thesis addresses too large of a topic for an undergraduate paper. The terms “social,” “political,” and “economic” are too broad and vague for the writer to analyze them thoroughly in a limited number of pages. The thesis might focus on one of those concepts, or it might narrow the emphasis to some specific features of social, political, and economic change.
Strong Thesis: The Revolution paved the way for important political changes for women. As “Republican Mothers,” women contributed to the polity by raising future citizens and nurturing virtuous husbands. Consequently, women played a far more important role in the new nation’s politics than they had under British rule.
This thesis is off to a strong start, but it needs to go one step further by telling the reader why changes in these three areas mattered. How did the lives of women improve because of developments in education, law, and economics? What were women able to do with these advantages? Obviously the rest of the paper will answer these questions, but the thesis statement needs to give some indication of why these particular changes mattered.
Strong Thesis: The Revolution had a positive impact on women because it ushered in improvements in female education, legal standing, and economic opportunity. Progress in these three areas gave women the tools they needed to carve out lives beyond the home, laying the foundation for the cohesive feminist movement that would emerge in the mid-nineteenth century.
When revising your thesis, check it against the following guidelines:
- Does my thesis make an historical argument?
- Does my thesis take a position that requires defending?
- Is my thesis historically specific?
- Is my thesis focused and precise?
- Does my thesis answer the question, “so what?”
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