Annotated Bibliographies

Bibliographies are lists of books, articles, and other materials that you have researched for your topic. Bibliographies list important publication information such as author, title, place and date of publication. For more information on how to write a bibliography, see our post on citation information.

An annotated bibliography is a little different than a bibliography. To annotate something means that you summarize and evaluate it. An annotated bibliography, then, is a list of the sources you have researched with a summary and evaluation of each source immediately following the bibliography entry. For more help on summaries, please see our post on the topic.

Remember the keys to writing and effective annotation are to:

  • Summarize
  • Evaluate
  • Apply

Example of Annotated Bibliography Entry (MLA)

Last name, First name. Title. Place of Publication: Name of Publisher, Date.

This is where your annotation should appear. You should summarize the text here as clearly as possible. If one had never read this text before, what could you write so that this person understood what it was about? What are the key points of the text? For more help on summarizing, please see our post on summaries.

In the following paragraph, you should evaluate the text. Is it well written? Is it well-documented? Is the author credible? How does this particular text fit with other texts you have read on this topic?

In this final paragraph, you will want to talk briefly about how you will apply this text to your project. In what ways does this text contribute to the argument you are going to make? Does the text provide an historical context for your paper? Does the text provide an argument that opposes yours? Does it shape or influence your argument? How will you use it in your research?

The annotation immediately follows the bibliographic entry and is in paragraph form. Usually annotations are single spaced, like this. But you should ask your teacher if there are any specific guidelines you need to follow.

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