Home Blog Annotated Bibliography - An Easy Guide With Examples Annotated Bibliography Example and Writing Tips

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 don't know much about it, but they can learn from an annotated bibliography tutorial.

You'll be able to create a well-detailed and explained annotated bibliography by following the examples given here. You will learn to start, format, and end it properly so that the assignment is properly done.

Let’s get started!

An annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources with a brief summary and explanation. The first part is a simple citation and then comes a brief explanation of the source, which is 150-200 words long.

The length of the annotation will also be according to your teacher’s requirements.

Many students wrongly think that an annotation is like an 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 more commonly used than 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 depends on the instructions that your teacher has given you and your field of study. Some types of formats are only used by the students enrolled in special courses.

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 about the writer’s personal view. 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 other than the summary, evaluation, and reflection paragraph.

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, the writer has only given a brief explanation of what the paper is 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?

Below are the steps to write an annotated bibliography;

  1. Analyze the sources properly.
  2. Add the citation and follow the given format like MLA, APA, or Chicago.
  3. Add the annotation afterward. The annotation is a short and brief summary of the source.
  4. Discuss the qualification of the author. Tell the readers why he is qualified to write the paper or conduct the cited research.
  5. Evaluate the source in a few lines.
  6. Add self-reflection and personal evaluation at the end of the annotation.

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

What is the Purpose of an Annotated Bibliography?

The main purpose of writing an annotated bibliography is to analyze the sources. Besides, they are also helpful for other researchers, authors of annotations, and teachers.

Moreover, it helps in honing a student’s writing and critical analysis skills.

Annotated Bibliography Example (PDF)

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Abstract vs. Annotation - Difference Between Abstract and Annotation

An abstract is a brief summary of the paper or work, which informs the readers of what is discussed in the source.

On the other hand, the annotated bibliography is different from the abstract. It is the overall summary and analysis of the source. It describes what has been discussed in the sources.

Moreover, it 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.

Annotated Bibliography vs. Literature Review - Are they the Same?

No, just like an abstract, a literature review is also different from an annotated bibliography. Here are the differences between them.

Annotated Bibliography Literature Review
Purpose This is a list of sources that have more information about each source. Also, informs the readers about the credibility of each source. This is an overview of the topic. It talks about the most important points discussed in the paper or work. It is added before the research section.
Structure and Format Sources are arranged alphabetically and separate from each other. Sources are arranged in paragraphs and could be integrated also.
Parts and Components The parts include the citation, short summary, analysis, and personal views. It begins with the introduction, analyzes the source’s content, and concludes it.


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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 3 parts of an annotated bibliography?

The parts of an annotated bibliography include a title, annotation, and citation. The format of the citation and title page could be different and according to the format the annotation is following.

How long should an annotated bibliography be?

Usually, an annotated bibliography is between 150 and 200 words. However, the length could vary, depending on the kind of referencing format you use. For example, Chicago style annotation would be shorter than APA and MLA style.

What are the 3 types of annotations?

The 3 kinds of annotations are descriptive, summary, and evaluation. However, you can use any of these types or even all three of them in your annotation bibliography.

Where do you put the annotated bibliography?

Like the References and Works Cited page, an annotated bibliography is also placed at the end of the paper or essay. Instead of giving a list of references only, an annotated bibliography explains the sources to the readers.

Who is the audience for an annotated bibliography?

Usually, the audience for the annotated bibliography is the authors of other books and annotations, researchers, and instructors. Besides, it also guides the professors in assessing the kind of sources a student has used in his work.

How many articles should be in an annotated bibliography?

You should aim at adding at least 15 to 20 entries in your annotated bibliography. But, it depends on the kind of paper and your teacher’s requirements also.

How to write a critical annotated bibliography?

Here are the steps to write a critical annotated bibliography;

  • Mention and explain the strengths and weaknesses of the source.
  • How is it relevant to and useful for the paper or work?
  • How does the source compare to other sources, articles, papers, and books?

Answer all these questions when working on your critical annotated bibliography.

How do you explain credibility in an annotated bibliography?

Inform the readers that the sources are from credible and recognized authors. Check the established and reputable institutes with which the author is affiliated. In case of citing a paper from a journal, make sure that the journal is credible.

Can you quote in an annotated bibliography?

Yes, you can add quotes from the chosen source. Usually, an annotation is no longer than 150 to 200 words. Try to use the same kind of language that the author has used and place the quote within the quotation marks.

Does an annotated bibliography need an introduction and conclusion?

Please check your assignment’s guidelines or instructions. If you are adding it in place of the references or bibliography, then it will not need a separate introduction and conclusion. If it is a standalone assignment then you may need to add it.

Can you use websites in an annotated bibliography?

Yes, you can add relevant, credible, and reputable websites in your annotated bibliography. However, make sure that you add relevant sites only that could offer greater insight into your topic.

What is the main advantage of having to write an annotated bibliography?

Here are the benefits of writing an annotated bibliography;

  • It helps you in evaluating the credibility and authority of the added sources.
  • It helps you understand the sources completely and in a better manner.
  • It helps the readers know about your research and the kind of sources used in it.

Besides, it also helps in making the students’ writing skills better.

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