Chapter 6: Annotated Bibliography

By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate ability to cite sources in APA format. (LO4)
  • Examine strategies for maintaining academic integrity. (LO5)

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography brings together your notes and your citations. It is a full list of all of your sources, including fully formatted citations and notes on how you will use the sources. Annotated bibliographies are a common component of research projects. They allow you to collect similar research prior to deciding which sources to actually use for their research project. There are times when annotated bibliographies are included at the end of a research paper as a way to offer additional insight to the audience.

The time it takes to complete an annotated bibliography is long, but the annotations themselves should be brief. An annotated bibliography can be completed in two simple steps.

1. Cite Your Sources

The first part of each entry in your annotated bibliography should be a full and accurate source citation, in whatever style your program or institution prefers to use. Refer to Chapter 2: Citing Sources for more information about citing sources. It may also be beneficial to refer directly to APA Style or MLA Style for full details on their citation methods.

2. Write Your Annotations

A proper annotation has three parts. Remember the annotations should be brief.

  • Start by concisely summarizing the source.
  • Then, provide a critique and evaluation of the credibility of the source.
  • Explain how you will use this source in your research paper.

It may also be beneficial to include these items in your annotation if space allows:

  • An explanation about the authority and/or qualifications of the author.
  • The scope or main purpose of the work.
  • Any detectable bias or interpretive stance.
  • The intended audience and level of reading.

The following information includes pro tips for annotated bibliographies.  Review the pro tip, then, flip the card to review more information by selecting: “Turn”. After reviewing a card, select the right pointing arrow to move to the next card.


References for Remixed Content:

Excelsior OWL (2022). Annotated bibliographies. Excelsior Online Writing Lab.


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Research and Information Literacy with Library Resources by Andrea Bearman and Jill Noyes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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