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 Annotated Bibliography – An Easy Guide With Examples & Topics

Jul 30, 2021

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Jul 30, 2021 | Blog

An annotated bibliography is a set of references for your research compiled in alphabetical order.

These resources are different from the list of references because they come with important explanations about all the given content.

Teachers can request annotated bibliographies to ensure that you’re following directions and guidelines closely, but many students find them difficult when it comes time to write one themselves.

Fortunately, this information isn’t as hard or tedious as you may think- trust us!

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources that includes a brief explanation.

Unlike your average reference, it also contains more detailed information about each source.

This means you can show off all the hard work and research you put into compiling these resources for others to see!

For example, if I were working on my thesis related to post-WWII housing in America (or any other topic), then having this type of access would really benefit me because I could demonstrate how extensive my knowledge was on the subject matter while also giving credit where it’s due–to those who had written before me or offered up their own work as partaking in our shared conversation.

What Do Annotated Bibliographies Do in a Research Project?

An annotation is a detailed summary of the arguments and ideas you can find in an article, book, or other text. It describes how those points pertain to your work at hand.

Annotation provides guidelines for different annotations (e.g., critical commentary on specific texts) and comprehensive information about viewing and formatting annotated bibliographies using MLA citation style.


Some annotations only summarize the article or book.

What arguments does this article make? What is the point of this book?

This text discusses various topics, including finance and economics and environmental impacts on climate change.


A question many people ask themselves is whether their sources are credible and useful.

One way to think about this is through the lens of bias or distortion in the information they provide, with other sources also being considered.

Reflect –

When you summarize and assess a source, think about how it helps your research.

For example, does the new information shape an argument?

Does it change the way you view your research topic on this subject?

Why Should I Write an Annotated Bibliography?

Some teachers assign annotations assignments for students to learn the purpose of citing sources and help them remember what information comes from.

Some may not know why their teacher assigns such a task, but its significance becomes clear when completed correctly.

Annotating gives writers insight into reading comprehension skills and citation practices necessary for college-level writing because, without them, one cannot properly cite their work!

It helps you learn your research topic better. 

Making annotations forces you to read the sources closely instead of just collecting them and lets you see what others think about your topic with ease.

It will help other researchers too.

To find everything that has been said about a topic, annotations are necessary.

Annotating the list of sources with descriptions and evaluations provides readers with more information than they could have found independently.

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated writing may appear hard to write, but it is simple if you follow our guide.

What you need to create a quality annotated bibliography will depend on your instructor’s requirements and preferences, but here are some steps that may help:

– Find out what types of sources or formats they would like cited (books, journal articles, webpages)

– Determine how many details must be included about each source once it has been found –

  • A title? The author’s name? An abstract from the article? Date published information?)

– Assemble all relevant materials before beginning writing.

Select the Sources

The first step in writing an academic paper is selecting the sources and materials you’ll use to write it.

This can be tough, but a few tricks might make this process easier for you!

The very first thing one needs to do when beginning an essay or term paper on their own would be choosing what kind of research they intend to conduct from among all possible options.

A number of these choices will vary depending upon whether your assignment calls for creative nonfiction, expository essays (or papers), business reports, articles with facts about various subjects such as education standards in foreign countries – so there’s something out there for every student no matter which field he intends on pursuing at university level study.

Do Background Research

Doing the background research of sources means that you have to find the suitability and relevance.

I had to dig into whether or not they were relevant for my essay topic; if so, I would continue researching with them until there was no more information left (just like getting all of those sugar packets at Costco).

Select the Writing Style

When it comes to writing, there are many different styles.

Students usually choose Chicago (C), MLA (M), or APA style (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition, 2019). Still, those who study in Chemistry, Physics, and other specialty areas, may be required to abide by another set of guidelines.

Reread your instructions so that you can follow them correctly this time around!

The procedures for creating annotations are outlined below:

  • According to the prescribed writing style, make a list of the sources’ citations.
  • Indent the citation with a dangling indent.
  • Make the citation strong in the typeface.
  • Below the citations, jot down the annotations for the sources.
  • It would help if you indented every new paragraph.

Edit and Proofread

You must check your content for spelling, grammar, and sentence structure errors.

Your paper should make sense with no missed points before submitting it to avoid getting a low grade due to minor mistakes.

Annotated Bibliography Format

The annotation is the explanation and analysis of given citations, while a citation serves as your reference.

The most common type has two parts: Citation and Annotation.

The source’s citation, which you’ll examine in the annotation section. The references or works cited will be written in the paper’s selected style of writing and will include the following information:

  • The full title of the work, such as a book or an essay.
  • Names of authors who contributed to the work publishers name
  • When was the work first published?
  • When did you access the source?


This section will explore the data, arguments, facts, or findings presented by the author(s) in their research work.

This should be a concise summary of all major points made and not just an overview of what was discussed.

This portion will discuss different numbers from various studies and address why these results may differ on conclusions drawn about them.


In the analysis section, you will discuss how credible and qualified the authors are.

The experts show their qualifications through various methods like education and experience in a profession related to their writing.

This is where we detail who wrote this article or book and why it matters that they did so to establish credibility when sharing thoughts, knowledge, expertise with readers.


You will evaluate the author’s arguments, claims, and findings in this section. You will explain what you learned from each source and explain how it is relevant to your research.


The annotation provides insightful information about the relevance of an article to your research, listing how it helped you and what new material has been added.

Annotations vs. Abstracts – How Do they Differ

Many students wrongly assume that an annotation is like an abstract.

Annotation involves both the description and critical evaluation of a source, while in contrast, an abstract only summarizes information at the beginning of publications.

They may look similar to one another but serve different purposes as well.

Annotated Bibliography Examples

The process of composing annotations is not as straightforward as one might think. Once you grasp the basics, it becomes easier to construct this paper with guidance from our sample lists below.

Check out some examples below for more information on how you can do this properly:

Annotated Bibliography – MLA  ( Modern Language Association ) Style

Annotated Bibliography – MLA Style



Here is a template for your MLA-style annotated bibliography from the MLA works cited page.

MLA style annotated bibliography template

Annotated Bibliography – APA (American Psychological Association) Style

Below is an APA annotated bibliography example.

Annotated Bibliography – APA Style



Refer below to get an APA format annotated bibliography template:

APA style annotated bibliography template

Annotated Bibliography – Chicago Style

Annotated Bibliography - Chicago Style



Here is a Chicago style template:

Chicago style annotated bibliography template

Types of Annotated Bibliography

Here are four different and major types of annotated bibliographies.

All these styles have distinctive features that make them stand out from each other.

 A descriptive Annotated Bibliography

Its also known as an indicative annotated bibliography.

It provides summaries and explanations for citations or references given in the text.

Evaluative Annotated Bibliography

An evaluative bibliography judges the content.

They are very detailed, and they judge whether the source is good or bad. It provides detailed analysis from summarizing main ideas to critical judgment of the work in question as well as personal opinions about it at last word.

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.

Informative Annotated Bibliography

This kind of bibliography gives information about the sources without opinions or views.

It provides a summary, including all three parts: hypothesis, proof, and research data.

 Combination Annotated Bibliography

An annotation can also be a combination of two or more kinds.

You’ll find at least one personal viewpoint included, which can be either an evaluation and/or commentary on the work itself, as well as an insight into how it might have shaped its author’s life.

Annotated Bibliography Topics

Though a research topic does not need to be found independently, some students do require assistance.

Students frequently pick themes similar to the ones listed below for their annotation assignments.

  1. Crash dieting is the reason for several health issues in teenagers and young adults.
  2. Eating alkaline foods is more beneficial for the human body.
  3. Water pollution is damaging marine life. How true is the statement?
  4. Role reversal is one of the significant themes in gender studies. Discuss.
  5. Thesis based Master’s is more beneficial than coursework based. Discuss the statement.
  6. Pros and cons of taking writing as a profession.
  7. Reading helps our brains to improve and develop. Discuss.
  8. Role of cottage industries in the improvement of the economy.
  9. Investing in education and healthcare is optimal for a nation’s development.
  10. Strengthening our immune system is the best way of fighting off diseases.
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  • Alex Sutton

    Through my engaging and informative blog posts, I aim to provide helpful tips on topics such as essay writing, research skills, and academic planning, empowering students to thrive in their academic pursuits.

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