Sometimes researchers want to know more about the context of a source, and why the writer has chosen to focus on it in their work. That’s where annotated bibliographies come in.
An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, documents, etc. Normally, a works cited page or reference list simply displays each source via a citation. However, in an annotated bibliography, each citation is followed by a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph. This paragraph is known as the “annotation,” and is usually only about 100-150 words long.
The purpose of an annotated bibliography is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, location, and quality of the sources that are cited in the paper or work. You should always check with your teacher or professor first to see if an annotated bibliography/works cited page is needed for your paper.
Has your teacher asked you to write an annotated bibliography for your paper? Don’t know how to get started? Check out the example below for some quick tips on how to structure an annotated bibliography.
The following example uses APA format (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition, 2010) for a journal citation. While the format for the citation itself would change if you used a different style, such as MLA format, the format of the annotation itself would remain the same: