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Annotated Bibliography Guidance: Writing an Annotated Bibliography

Discover the basics of writing an annotated bibliography.

More Details and Examples

Writing the Annotation

The sources you include should:

  • be a good variety of sources that are evaluated adequately with regard to credibility.
  • sources are relevant, relate to each other, and address the research topic.
  • the citations are written correctly and all follow the same documentation style (i.e. MLA, APA, etc.)

Each annotated paragraph should include:

  • a summary of the main idea or content of each source.
  • a demonstration of the relevance of each source; explanation of how this source relates to your topic.
  • an evaluation of the source (credibility, authority, timeliness).
  • your decision to use the source or not and and explanation of why or why not.
  • all annotations must include correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation and be written in complete sentence/paragraph form.

* Remember to follow guidelines stipulated by your professor that may include writing more than one paragraph and focusing on different aspects of the source.


An annotated bibliography is a bibliography that includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources. Each citation is followed by a brief note – or annotation – that describes various aspects of the sourse such as a summary, an evaluation of the content, and applicability to your topic.

The purpose of an Annotated Bibliography is to show that the author has understood the sources used, and give enough information for the reader to decide whether to read that specific work.

A citation reflects all of the information a person would need to locate a particular source. For example, basic citation information for a book consists of name(s) of author(s) or editor(s), title of book, name of publisher, place of publication, and most recent copyright date.

A citation style dictates the information necessary for a citation and how the information is ordered, as well as punctuation and other formatting. Examples include MLA, APA, CSE, & Chicago/Turabian to name a few. Note the tab above that links to our citation guides.

A bibliography lists citations for all of the relevant resources a person consulted during his or her research. (APA)

A works cited list presents citations for those sources referenced in a particular paper, presentation, or other composition. (MLA)

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