What is an Annotated Bibliography?
What is a bibliography? Often called a “works cited list” or “reference list,” it’s a list, usually found at the end of your project, that displays all of the sources that you used in your research project. In this list, you may have websites, books, newspapers, magazines, or other types of sources that were used.
Each listed source, also called a “citation,” shares information about the author, title, publishing year, and other items. Citations are provided so that others can find the sources themselves.
An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents where each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 100 to 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation.
Why Have One?
Sometimes instructors want you to include an “annotated bibliography.” An annotated bibliography includes three items for each source:
- the citation
- a short summary of the source
- your personal thoughts and insights from the source
The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, location, and quality of the sources cited. Please check with your teacher or professor first to see if an annotated bibliography/works cited page is needed for your paper.
- Create the citation in MLA, APA, or another style that your teacher instructs you to cite in. Your teacher will tell you which style you should use.
- Write a few sentences summarizing the source. What was it about? What was the main point of it?
Your Personal Thoughts and Insights
- Was the source helpful for your particular assignment?
- How did it help answer your research question(s)?
- How was this source different than the other sources used?
- Did the source change your thinking on the research topic?
- How did the source affect you?
- Citations are listed in alphabetical order
- Format your paper according to the MLA or APA guidelines (include the link to the MLA and APA guideline pages)
Example (in MLA):
Example (in APA):
Did you know that you can create annotated bibliographies using EasyBib citation tools? Go to any citation form and simply click the “Add Annotation” button at the bottom. A space will open up that allows you to add your own annotation for the citation.
Bibliographies are used to cite sources that are used in a research paper. An annotatedbibliography is more than a mere list of sources. It includes:
- A summary - includes information that explains what information the source provides
- An evaluation - explains why or how the notation is a useful source. It can also speak to the validity of the source in terms of its scholarly nature
- An explanation of value - speaks to the relevance of the citation to the research paper
Some annotated bibliographies offer only summaries, while others offer all three components. It is important to assess what the audience of the research paper will be seeking before crafting an annotated bibliography.
Annotated Bibliography Format Styles
Summary Format Styles
The basic format of an annotated bibliography is the same as a non-annotated bibliography entry. The difference is that the publication information about the source material is followed with the annotation that reviews and evaluates the material.
Here are the two basic format styles:
APA (American Psychological Association) Style
StyleBaker, T. (1995). Gun control and You. Stevenson Learning Law Review, 45 (2), 180-193. The author researches several federal and state firearms regulations and their effect on the everyday citizen. By testing his hypothesis that firearms regulations have an inherent effect on everyday citizens, findings yield in support of the hypothesis. In contrast, Baker cited in an earlier study the complete opposite findings.
MLA (Modern Language Association) Style
StyleJohnson, Jaime. "Gun Control: Your Only Means of Defense.” Researcher's Special Journal (1999): 254-325. Print. The author researches several federal and state firearms regulations and their effect on the everyday citizen. By testing his hypothesis that firearms regulations have an inherent effect on everyday citizens, findings yield in support of the hypothesis. In contrast, Baker cited in an earlier study the complete opposite.
Full 3-Component Format Style
Crohn’s and Colitis - An Annotated Bibliography
Crohn’s and Colitis Drug Effective in Trials. (2013). Medical News Today. Retrieved from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265128.php
Published on the website Medical News Today, this article discusses the research findings of two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Vedoluzimab is a drug being tested to help Crohn’s and Colitis patients deal with the debilitating effects of these diseases. The article briefly outlines the research suggesting effectiveness of the drug.
MediLexicon International, the publisher of the article, is a U.K. based health care internet publishing company that is dedicated to providing top notch unbiased content. Publishing since 2003, this reputable company’s articles are reliable for use for research support.
Glover, Sonia B. Coping With Crohn’s, The Pain and The Laughter. Newfoundland and Labrador: Boulder Publications. 2007. Print
This insightful account of one woman’s struggles with her symptoms and diagnosis of Crohn’s provides valuable personal information for those struggling with Crohn’s.
Published by Boulder Publications, a self-proclaimed “publisher of high quality books,” this book is a useful tool to understand Crohn’s disease. It is a reliable resource for anecdotal information about Crohn’s disease.
Linking Vitamin D Deficiency to Inflammatory Bowel Disease. (2013). Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Journal. Retrieved from: http://journals.lww.com/ibdjournal/Fulltext/2013/09000/Linking_Vitamin_D_Deficiency_to_Inflammatory_Bowel.26.aspx
A comprehensive scholarly article about the links between Vitamin D and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, this piece offers scientific information about how Vitamin D works within the body, and information from a wide variety of doctors and researchers that supports a link between the vitamin and IBD disorders.
Scientific and evidence based, this journal article from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundations of America’s journal is a highly useful resource to support the topic of this paper.
No Reservations - How to Take the Worry Out of Eating Out. (2013). CCFA: Take Charge Magazine. Retrieved from: http://www.ccfa.org/assets/pdfs/diningout.pdf
An insightful article, this piece gives information to those suffering with Crohn’s and Colitis to help to ease the anxiety and stress of eating outside of the home.
Including information that is research based, and published by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, this resource is highly reliable and gives a useful context for the information within this research paper.
Creating an Annotated Bibliography
Some tips for creating a well-annotated bibliography include:
- Consider which writing style is required of your research. One of the things to keep in mind about APA and MLA format is that there is a distinguishing difference. For example, MLA format is usually double spaced within the citation and between each citation.
- Use the third person when writing.
- Make a list of the points which the author emphasized as relative to the topic that you were researching.
- Make sure that the sources which you used are aligned or in agreement with your stance on the research issue. This will helps to make a stronger argument for your stance on the issue that you researched.
In summary, the key to writing a complete and properly formatted annotated bibiography is to review your source material, take detailed notes, select the format to be used for the annotations. Summarize the content, providing information that describes and evaluates the source material.