Posted on: 9th Jul 2021 1533 Views

How to Write Annotated Bibliography

In this written assignment sample we shall discuss and outline the step-by-step guide for making annotated bibliography for the dummies. It is a brief account of the research work that is available for a given topic. This structure template must include a concise description and an evaluation of each source of research.

How to Write Annotated Bibliography

Format of an APA annotated bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a collection of citations for books, articles, and other materials on a certain subject. The annotated bibliography resembles a Reference page, except each source referenced is followed with an annotation. An annotation is a brief overview of a source and/or a critical assessment of it.

What is an Annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography summarises the study that has been done on a particular subject. An annotated bibliography is a list of research sources organized alphabetically, just like any other bibliography. An annotated bibliography includes a brief overview of each source as well as an opinion of its worth or relevance, in addition to bibliographic information. An annotated bibliography may be necessary for your assignment. An annotated bibliography can be either component of a large project or a single standing assignment in itself. It includes a list of citations ranging from books to articles and a descriptive brief and summary paragraph following it.

Purpose of Annotated Bibliography 

The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader about the accuracy, credibility, quality, and relevancy of the cited sources. The annotated bibliography must contain a citation and a short paragraph following the same. It helps you to know all the available materials for a particular topic.

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An annotated bibliography is used for demonstration of the quality of the reading, review of literature on the subject, highlighting the sources, enhancing the scope of sources, and an exploration of sources for adding them for further research. While making this the aim of the literature research needs to be identified along with the purpose of investigations and the sources available for research.

This must be short in the form of a summary that does not need an explanation. It includes only relevant details and writes only complete sentences. There shall be no cross-references of previous texts that must not be used in the citations. Any information in the title of the text is not mentioned in the annotation.

Step by Step Guidance to Write Annotated Bibliography 

When it comes to how to write an annotated bibliography it is mostly initiated with the citation which includes details of the source or information which shall be followed by a brief annotation. This is arranged in alphabetic order according to the last name of the author.

The summary of an annotated bibliography must contain around 100-200 words per citation and each component must be added to it. It provides a whole new dimension to the research work by providing a brief overview of the source materials.

These are the following steps to writing an annotated bibliography:-

1. Choosing the Appropriate Topic

Every annotated bibliography has the title of the text, introduction, citation, summary, and evaluation. You need to first select the list of books, newspapers, journals, and websites that can be used for reference.

Such references can either be a primary or secondary source of information. The primary source is the research books, papers, and secondary sources are other forms of the source of information like the internet. Add all annotations of the sources that have been used for the preparation of the academic paper.

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2. Add Formatting Style to the Citations 

After the selection of the topic, you need to add the formatting style to the citations as per the instructions of your college professors. The style of reference used depends upon the field of study or the topic area that has been chosen for the research work.

For any science-related studies or paper, an APA referencing is to be used and MLA style is supposed to be used for the arts or humanities-related research topics. The focus must be on the arrangement of citations in ascending order.

3. Summarizing the Sources

The summarizing of source content is the most difficult part where a short or a brief introduction must be given before the summary of the texts is done.

It includes the main arguments and the basic point of the book or the article and the topics covered under this. The length of the annotation depends upon the detailing depth of the summary of the text.

4. Analysing the Background of the Author 

You must add a particular section on the history and background of the author to enhance the annotations. But you must add only valuable information like the year of publication, history of the publication, and a number of copies of the book for expanding your research work. Such an annotated bibliography must be short and this information is not mandatory though but my advice to the students is to add them as it would fetch them extra credit value in assessment evaluation.

5. Setting the Context

Next is setting the context of the annotated bibliography where you need to decide whether your bibliography is analytical or descriptive by nature. A descriptive annotated bibliography is an abstract that summarizes the source.

While an analytical bibliography examines the pros and cons of the arguments which have been made. It is a practical application in your research work. I would highly recommend the analytical annotated bibliography to be used by the students for enhancing their level of knowledge and for getting a deeper insight into the research work.

6. Stating the Main or Central Argument 

The central argument is stated already in the summary which can be evaluated and compared with the other listings and must reflect upon the topic. The structuring of the content must be done in such a way that it can be read separately from the research itself.

7. Evaluation of Each Source

The final or concluding part of an annotated bibliography is meant for the critical evaluation of the text. It includes questioning the credibility of the source that is used for the central argument. It understands the authenticity of the source materials. It is mostly like an abstract that is used in the articles and in case of any plagiarism the credit must be given.

In the annotations, which writing style should I use?

  • Each annotation must be brief. Remember, you’re writing a summary, not an essay, so don’t write too much. Unless your assignment rules state differently, annotations should not exceed one paragraph. Only mention significant and relevant details because this is not an extended piece of writing.
  • Any information found in the text or journal’s title might be left out of the annotation.
  • In most cases, background materials and references to past work by the same author are omitted. There is no need to cross-reference or utilize in-text citations to support your annotation because you are only dealing with one text at a time.
  • You should write in entire sentences and use academic jargon unless otherwise specified.

3 parts of an Annotated Bibliography

The title, annotation, and citation are the three parts of an annotated bibliography. Depending on the style you pick, the title and citation format will differ. A summary, appraisal, or reflection can all be included in the annotation.

Where does a bibliography appear?

List all of the sources you used for your paper, whether or not they were cited directly. You should list all of the materials you used to prepare your paper in a bibliography. Two citation styles that make use of bibliographies are Chicago citations and Oxford citations.

Reference lists and bibliographies are frequently found at the end of a written work and are alphabetically structured. A reference list and a bibliography can both be included in a paper.


An annotated bibliography needs to be short and only useful information or any relevant details of research must be added. Only valuable information which can make the arrangements smart and creative must be used. Your college professor can easily get an idea of your research work type and depth of study done for it and references used for the writing of an academic paper that can add value to your work and grades.

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