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Annotated Bibliography Example and Writing Tips

Annotated Bibliography Example and Writing Tips

An annotated bibliography example helps the students understand the basics and mechanics of an annotated bibliography. Many students only know about the theory of how to write an annotated bibliography but don't know much about it.

A well-detailed and explained example will help you get going and start with your annotated bibliography writing process. You will know how to start, format, and end your bibliography properly and successfully.

This blog explains how to write an annotated bibliography with the help of examples. Read on to know more.

Whenever you look at or listen to the words "annotated bibliography", know that it is referring to the list of various articles, documents, and books, along with a brief summary and analysis of its content.

In short, an annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources with briefs. The first part is a simple citation and then comes a small brief, which is up to 150-200 words, or according to your teacher’s requirement.

After looking at the term "small brief", you must be wondering if it is abstract. No, it is not, there is actually a difference in annotations and abstracts.

The abstract is usually a descriptive summary, which is presented at the beginning of a scholarly article and journal entries.

Annotations, on the other hand, are more critical and descriptive. We will talk about the differences later in the blog.

Examples of Annotated Bibliography

When it comes to the examples of annotated bibliography, there are certain styles that are preferred over the others. Students mostly prefer writing their bibliography in MLA, APA, and Chicago formats.

It does not mean that other styles like AAA, IEEE, Harvard, or Oxford are not used; it is mainly dependent on the instructions that have been provided by the professor and the requirements of your field of study. Some types of formats are only used by the students enrolled in special courses.

The reason why we are focusing so much on the writing style is that the citation part of the annotated bibliography depends on it. There is no specific style to write the annotation, it is an indented paragraph that explains and analyses the given citation.

Annotated Bibliography Example - APA Style

One of the most commonly used annotated bibliography styles is APA.

If your teacher has not specified any style, using APA is a safe bet.

Students usually think that the APA writing style and bibliography are easier. In general, all the bibliography styles are very easy, it is just a matter of understanding.

If you are doing an annotated bibliography according to APA format, the first thing you should consider is the citation. Make sure that you format the link of the journal, book, or article that you use, in APA format style.

After the proper citation, write an indented paragraph, giving a brief explanation of what is stated in the respective citation or source. Examples of annotated bibliography, APA are mentioned below.

1) Waite, L. J., Goldschneider, F. K., & Witsberger, C. (1986). Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional family orientations among young adults. American Sociological Review, 51, 541-554.

The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Living and spending time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited above shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.

In this annotated bibliography, there is no self-reflection at the end. It is more like a brief of the whole study.

2) Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company.

 APA Annotated Bibliography Example

Looking at the annotation above, one can clearly see that the writer has assessed as well as summarized the book which has been cited. Look at the first paragraph, it gives a small brief on the work that the author has talked about in the book.

Coming to the second paragraph, the writer has specifically talked about the strengths of the project. Further, they have also talked about the presentation and method.

The last part of an annotation is usually when the writer talks about self-reflection and how the study has helped him. However, this particular part is not added in this APA annotated bibliography example.

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Annotated Bibliography Example - MLA Style

Now, coming down to the MLA format, the only changes will be in the citation. The annotation part will stay the same. A better way to explain this is by giving examples. Examples of annotated bibliography MLA are as follows.

1) Battle, Ken. “Child Poverty: The Evolution and Impact of Child Benefits.” A Question of Commitment: Children's Rights in Canada. Ed. Katherine Covell and R.Brian Howe. Waterloo, ON Wilfrid Laurier University Press. 2007. 21-44.

Annotated Bibliography Example MLA Format

2) Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Anchor Books, 1995.

MLA Format Annotated Bibliography Sample

In the above MLA annotated bibliography example, the writer has included three paragraphs in the annotation. The three paragraphs are inclusive of a summary, evaluation, and finally in the last paragraph, a reflection of how the annotation aided in the writer’s own research.

The details depend on the word count requirement given by your professor.

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Annotated Bibliography Example - Chicago Style

Similar to APA and MLA, in Chicago style annotated bibliography, the main thing that changes is the citation format. The annotation pretty much follows the same pattern as we have discussed above.

Below is a Chicago style annotated bibliography example:

1) Davidson, Hilda Ellis. Roles of the Northern Goddess. London: Routledge, 1998.

Davidson's book provides a thorough examination of the major roles filled by the numerous pagan goddesses of Northern Europe in everyday life, including their roles in hunting, agriculture, domestic arts like weaving, the household and death. The author discusses relevant archaeological evidence, patterns of symbol and ritual, and previous research. The book includes a number of black and white photographs of relevant artifacts.

As you can see, this is an example of an annotated bibliography in its simplest form. In the above example of the Chicago style, the writer has only given a brief explanation of what the paper is all about. The main focus of the small brief is to talk about the project the book has worked on.

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How to Write an Annotated Bibliography?

The annotation can vary depending on the requirement and what your direction is. However, there are some certain points and tricks that can help you move forward in the process, easily.

  1. At the start of the annotated bibliography, there will always be a citation. Make sure that you always cite the source in the required format, for instance, MLA, Chicago, or any other.
  2. Then comes the annotation part, which is a summary of the whole article or journal. You will start the annotation by telling how the author carried out the research.
  3. In the next lines of the annotation, talk about the qualifications of the author or authors.
  4. In the next few lines, give the full summary of what the research is all about.
  5. Coming to the last part of the annotation, evaluate the source in a few lines.
  6. Lastly, talk about self-reflection and how the paper or project has or will aid in your own research.

You will be able to understand how to write an annotated bibliography better after going through the annotated bibliography examples discussed in this blog.

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Difference Between Abstract and Annotation

An abstract is a brief summary of the source’s different sections, which informs the readers what is covered, or discussed, in the source.

On the other hand, the annotated bibliography is different from the abstract, as it is not just a brief summary of all the sections of the source.

It is the overall detail of the source, which not only describes what has been covered in the sources but also provides an insight into how the source is helpful for the respective and future research.

It is different from the abstract in structure also. It has four parts: summary, evaluation, analysis, and relevance, while the abstract is just a brief summary.

The abstract simply states what is covered in the source, while the annotated bibliography, or annotation, also highlights the purpose, analysis, evaluation, and relevance of the source.


The above examples are your starting points for writing an effective annotated bibliography. APA and MLA are used more extensively than Chicago or other formats, but they all have different styles and formats. The main changing step in all kinds of the annotated bibliography is the format of the citation; the explanation part is almost the same.

I hope this guide will help you in writing your annotated bibliography easily. However, we know that sometimes you need additional help. MyPerfectWords.com is an expert essay writing service that helps you in managing your academic and personal life, without missing any deadlines.

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