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Research Help: Annotated Bibliography

Get help planning your research, using research tools, finding resources, citing and evaluating sources, and more.

Annotated Biblopgraphy Guidelines

Sources:

  • choose a good variety of sources that are evaluated adequately with regard to credibility and reliability.
  • assure that sources are relevant, relate to each other, and address the research topic/question.
  • format the citations following the appropriate documentation style (e.g. MLA, APA, etc.); consult your instructor if you do not know which style is in effect.

Each annotated paragraph should include*:

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

* Follow guidelines stipulated by your professor that may include writing more than one paragraph and/or 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 source 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 writer has understood the sources used, and to give enough information for the reader to decide whether to refer to that specific work.

A citation (bibliographic statement) 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. The most commonly used formats include MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), and Chicago/Turabian. Note the tab above that links to our citation guides.

A References page in APA (American Psychological Association) lists the bibliographic information for all of the sources you cite in your paper. The References page is typically called for in social sciences courses.


A works cited in MLA (Modern Language Association) page presents citations for those sources referenced in a particular paper, presentation, or other composition. The Works Cited page is typically called for in humanities courses.