An annotated bibliography is the full citation of a source followed by notes and commentary about a source. The word “annotate” means “critical or explanatory notes” and the word “bibliography” means “a list of sources”. Annotations are meant to be critical in addition to being descriptive. Annotated bibliographies are useful because they present a list of resources that others can use for research, and each resource has information that describes what is in it and that evaluates it (describes what makes it unique, useful, or helpful).
For more information, watch the short video at the bottom of this page.
Note: there isNO official APA format for an annotated bibliography. Our directions, below, rely on what NoodleBib (our APA citation software) does automatically.
The format for an annotated bibliography is similar to that of a research paper. Use one-inch margins on all sides, double space your entries, and alphabetize each entry. Hanging indents are required for citations. On the line after the citation, indent approximately two additional spaces and write the annotation. Indentations for annotations are consistent, even if a citation is one line.
NoodleTools makes formatting an annotated bibliography easy! You may also check out our video below for a demonstration of how to format your annotated bibliography.
If your assignment does not provide something more specific, follow the following guidance on annotations:
· 2 to 4 sentences to summarize the main idea(s) of the source.
o What are the main arguments?
o What is the point of this book/article?
o What topics are covered?
· 1 or 2 sentences to assess and evaluate the source.
o How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography?
o Is this information reliable?
o Is the source objective or biased?
· 1 or 2 sentences to reflect on the source.
o Was this source helpful to you?
o How can you use this source for your research project?
o Has it changed how you think about your topic?
Note: the descriptions and evaluations you provide must be your own writing. Do NOT copy and paste abstracts or summaries from other sources because that would constitute plagiarism.
Below is a sample annotation for a single journal article:
Below is a sample annotated bibliography written during a workshop attended by students in an introductory English class. The annotated bibliography is on grammar books they examined during class. The annotations are SHORTER than would normally be handed in for a real course project. They are also 1.5 spaced (should be DOUBLE SPACED for a real project).
Grammar Books: Annotated Bibliography
Elliott, R. (2006). Painless grammar (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Barron’s Educational Series.
This book is a practical and hands-on book with exercises for the reader. The coverage includes everything from the eight parts of speech to tips for writing. The book is very helpful for students of English, especially because it shares what to do and what not to do and provides examples of mistakes.
Fogarty, M. (2008). Grammar Girl’s quick and dirty tips for better writing. New York, NY: Henry Holt.
This book includes a wide variety of information on both basic and challenging grammar topics. It is good because it is easy to read and it has cartoons to illustrate the grammar principles it shares. For example, there is a great cartoon that helps explain the difference between “affect” and “effect” on page nine.
Hacker, D. (2009). Rules for writers (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
This excellent grammar text outlines all the grammar rules that all writers need to know. From its excellent examples to its many exercises to its clear and powerful layout, this book is a standout. This is the text of choice for most college English teachers and writing centers. In that vein, it is the best choice for the college student and life-long learner.
Straus, J. (2008). The blue book of grammar and punctuation (10th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
This book shares information about grammar for a wide audience ranging from high school students to college instructors. The book however is written at a high level and may not be easy to read for everyone. Expectations for readers are high and readers will learn their grammar if they put in the effort. Quizzes for self-assessment are a highlight.
Note: A shortened link for this answer is located athttp://tinyurl.com/ras-annotated
An annotated bibliography is a list of citations for various books, articles, and other sources on a topic. The annotated bibliography looks like a Reference page but includes an annotation after each source cited. An annotation is a short summary and/or critical evaluation of a source. Annotated bibliographies can be part of a larger research project, or can be a stand-alone report in itself.
Types of Annotations
A summary annotation describes the source by answering the following questions: who wrote the document, what the document discusses, when and where was the document written, why was the document produced, and how was it provided to the public. The focus is on description.
An evaluative annotation includes a summary as listed above but also critically assesses the work for accuracy, relevance, and quality. Evaluative annotations can help you learn about your topic, develop a thesis statement, decide if a specific source will be useful for your assignment, and determine if there is enough valid information available to complete your project. The focus is on description and evaluation.