Home Blog All About Writing Annotated Bibliography Annotated Bibliography - An Easy Guide With Example

Annotated Bibliography - An Easy Guide With Example

Annotated Bibliography - An Easy Guide With Example

Just got assigned annotated bibliography?
Don’t even know what an annotated bibliography look like?

Dreading about the day you have to submit it?

It’s not as difficult as you think, and trust me, you have got enough time and definitely the support to get it done on time.

Just explore this piece of writing and I assure that you can learn and nail each and every part of the annotated bibliography, even in the limited time you are left with.

1. What is an Annotated Bibliography

You must have heard about bibliography, even if you are not familiar with what is an annotated bibliography.

The bibliographic information is an essential part of each and every writing assignment which is stated at the end of the paper. It is actually the list of the sources which have been used for completing the assignment.

An annotated bibliography is slightly different from simple bibliography in the way that it more detailed and elaborated.

It is quite important to learn about the importance of the annotated bibliography because it is not just some one-time assignment and you would have to do it again and again, so be careful and attentive, so you can learn better.

An annotated bibliography is one of the most important parts of the research work, which is specifically used in the thesis work and dissertations. Creating an annotated bibliography can differ based on the formatting style.

However, to prepare you for the future, your instructor might ask you to write the annotated bibliography even for the term papers and research essays. So, always make sure sure that you check with your instructor before you start working on your research project.

1.1 Annotated Bibliography Definition

So here is the annotated bibliography definition:

Reference list, along with their short description of three to four sentences.

In other words, an annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources consulted or used for writing the assignment or getting done the research work along with the brief discussion of the sources.

You can easily grasp a rough idea by looking at annotated bibliography definition and learn the rest by making a little effort of going through the other sections of this writing piece.

One important thing to keep in mind is that the details and description of the annotated bibliography can change according to the instructions, so pay close attention to the details, in order to know what is required.

2. How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

One of the basic and essential questions of most of the students is how to write an annotated bibliography, so you do not need to feel bad for asking it, right when you have to submit your assignment the next morning.

You should never be ashamed of learning and there is no problem in not knowing but only in not making the effort of knowing.

Well, here are some of the steps which an annotated bibliography includes:

Select the Sources

The very first step towards writing the annotated bibliography is selecting the sources which would be consulted for doing the thesis, dissertation, or even the term paper.

Most of the times, three to four sources are required for the almost three-page task.

If you are writing a research essay of three pages, it would be safe to pick four sources for an annotated bibliography, if more are not instructed by your teacher.

Never forget the fact that the sources should be scholarly and peer-reviewed, or in other words, you cannot just randomly pick websites for the works cited page of your research paper.

Do Background Research

Once you have selected the sources, go through the details at least twice, in order to explore what the author is trying to communicate through their writing.

Doing the background research sources means that you have to find the suitability of the sources with your subject and topic under discussion.

If the source does not seem related, you can change and replace it with some other suitable one, as the purpose of the annotated bibliography is to explain how the source would help you in your writing or research work.

Select the Writing Style

The next step is going through the instructions once again and extracting the details of required writing style, just in case you do not mistake the assigned one for some other.

Greater chances are you would be assigned one writing style out of APA, MLA, and Chicago.

However, if you are assigned Harvard or any other style, there is nothing to get worried, as it does not make a great difference.

Except for the fact that you will have to cite the sources according to the assigned writing style and write down the annotation in the general format.

Start Writing

Done with selecting the sources, doing background research and finalizing the writing style, now you can start the writing process.

You have to follow this pattern in your writing:

  • List down the citations of the sources according to the assigned writing style.
  • Do not forget to format the citation in hanging indent style.
  • Make the font of citation bold.
  • Write down the annotation of the sources write below their citations.
  • Indent every new paragraph.

You are not done with your assignment yet. Explore the next section to know the final step.

Edit and Proofread

The last and final step is to edit and proofread the written material.

You may think that you have written quite carefully and there are no apparent mistakes, but you never know until you give it a final check.

Check the content for spelling, grammar and sentence structure errors.

Ensure that your written text is making perfect sense and you are not missing out important points.

3. Annotated Bibliography Format

I am sure you can now write an annotated bibliography without being haunted or scared by it, however, there is still one more thing that you essentially need to learn to improve the quality of your assignment and that is annotated bibliography format.

You have already learned by now that a bibliography consists of two important parts,

  • Citation
  • Annotation

It may look simple and it is a little bit.

However, you need to learn the details which will surely help you get better grades by portraying better understanding and knowledge of the concepts.

3.1 Citation

The citation of the sources is done in the usual way, like the citation in other types of assignments, while being careful of the required writing style.

Most of the times, the citation requires the following essential details.

  • Full name of the works, i.e. book, article, etc.
  • Names of the authors who contributed to the work.
  • Name of the publisher.
  • Date when the work was published.

3.2 Annotation

Annotation is the most crucial part of the annotated bibliography, so you have to pay greater attention to this section, in order to not miss any important details.

Annotation is the detailed description of the source, in addition to the explanation of its relevance with the paper or project under discussion.

Annotation consists of four essential parts which are:

  • Summary
  • Analysis
  • Evaluation
  • Relevance

However, you can miss some part, only if it is instructed to.

The details of completing these parts are discussed in the next section, so feel free to scroll down.


Presenting the summary of the source is the very first, as well as the most important part of the annotation section of the bibliography.

This section requires the summarization of the data, arguments, facts or findings presented by the author/ authors in their research work.

Be careful about the length of this part, as most of the times half of the total length of the annotation is required for the summary section.


The next part of the annotation is the analysis of the source.

Confused how you can do the analysis?

Well, we are here to guide you through all the details.

In the analysis section, you have to discuss the expertise or qualifications of the authors, which made them able to write about the topic or subject.

You can also mention the little details about the authority of the authors which contributed to their knowledge or understanding of the project.

In short, the purpose of this section is to show that some layman is not sharing his/her views in the article or book, but the thought and knowledge are coming from some expert, who is well familiar with the field.


The next section of the annotation is the evaluation of the source.

You need to evaluate the claims, arguments, and findings of the author or authors shared in their research work.

You have to depict the understanding, in the light of your paper or project and share if the two discussions or presentations seem to go hand in hand.

The length of this part can be only two to three sentences if more is not instructed by your teacher.


The last part of the annotation, as well as annotated bibliography, is the description of the relevance of the selected source with your particular paper or project.

You have to state how the source is related to your research and how it can help and guide you in completing the paper.

4. Annotated Bibliography Examples

Composing an annotated bibliography is not very simple. We get that! As complicated as it might seem, it becomes easy with proper guidance. I am sure you will think the same after exploring the following section of annotated bibliography examples.

4.1 Annotated Bibliography APA Example

Writing an annotated bibliography in the apa format is not as difficult as you might think.

You just have to cite the sources in the APA writing style and continue the rest of the annotation in the general format, already discussed above.

You can also get an idea about the presentation from this annotated bibliography apa example.

4.2 Annotated Bibliography MLA Example

Just like the above section, writing the annotated bibliography in MLA format is also not difficult at all.

You have to do the citation in MLA writing style and continue with the annotation according to the general format. Confused about writing in MLA format? Check out this blog for a step by step guide to MLA format.

Feel free to explore the annotated bibliography mla example in order to get a better grip on your assigned work.

4.3 Annotated Bibliography Chicago Style

In case you have to write your annotated bibliography following Chicago writing style, you can check the following annotated bibliography chicago style to know how does it look like.

The only thing different in it is that the citation of the sources according to the Chicago format and rest would be the same as all the other styles.

Hopefully, this guide would have helped you in formatting your bibliography. If you need more help with writing bibliography, here are some more annotated bibliography examples.

If you are still looking for professional assistance for composing your bibliography then we are here to help you. Contact MyPerfectWords for your help and you will get a detailed annotated bibliography written according to your given instructors.
You can get a custom paper written according to the specific format you want for your paper. Our expert writers are here to make sure that their skills help you improve your academic grades!

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