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Write an Annotated Bibliography: Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography Defined

An Annotated Bibliography is an organized list of books, articles, websites and other sources used in your research.  Each entry contains information about how and why it is useful to your paper.

Although it may take a while to complete the annotated bibliography, the annotations themselves are relatively brief.

Annotations will include a citation and an annotation.  The annotation will usually contain the three following items.

  1. A brief summary of the information in that source.
  2. A brief evaluation of the quality of the source’s information.
  3. A brief evaluation of whether the source is useful for the purpose of the research.

Template for an Annotation

Your instructor may have specific instructions for your annotation, but here's a 1-2-3 step system for writing an annotation:

  1. Fill in the blank: This source (article/book/website) is about ___________. Say it out loud as if you're trying to explain it to someone, then write in out in no more than four sentences.
  2. The author wrote this source for ________. Write one sentence describing the intended audience.
  3. I am confident this is a credible source because  __________________________. Write one or two sentences describing at least two criteria you used the evaluate this source. See link below on evaluating information.

Dr. Mighty Itauma Itauma

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography Step by Step

Hello and welcome to All Things Education.




To support:

Today, you'll learn how to write an annotated bibliography to support you in writing your literature review.

[What is an Annotated Bibliography?]

  1. An annotated bibliography is usually the first step to your literature review, where you list and summarize important research articles that support your research topic.
  2. There are two main parts of an annotated bibliography. - The citation of each source and the corresponding annotation The citation is usually in the format required by your institution. In this case, the citation is in APA format. The annotation summarizes the main content of the selected research article.
  3. In searching for research articles for your annotated bibliography, there are several approaches to consider

[Theoretical Framework]

You may select research studies based on your theoretical framework to gain more insight about the theory. These studies will support your topic and should be included.

[Problem/Gaps] You may select research studies that explore or examine the problem of interest to you.

[Purpose] You may select research that's similar to the purpose of your study. It shouldn't be an exact match, otherwise, your study would have nothing new to contribute to the literature. Usually, if the study purpose is similar, your research would have different parameters, for example, a different population or sample. This will definitely be an important article to include.

[Essential Elements] You should also include articles that support the essential elements in your research question. If you find a study that's similar to your proposed study and with the same research methods, that would be a great research article to regularly refer to, for your study.

So, in general, you should have at least 5 articles that support what you're doing, why you're doing your study, and how you're doing your study.

Great! That's how you write an annotated bibliography.

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annotated bibliography template

annotated bibliography example APA

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Example of an Annotation

Thank you to Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA


Annotated Blbliography Checklist