What is an Annotated Bibliography?

Most probably, you are already well aware of what a bibliography is. It is also called a “reference list,” “references,” or “works cited”, and it refers to the list of sources that were used in the research. Usually, this list is placed at the end of the research paper or an essay. When compiling a bibliography, you include the information about all sources that helped you write the paper: books, journals, news articles, scholarly articled, magazines, electronic sources etc. Each of the sources you have included into the references is also called a “citation.” The main aim why they are provided is that other people reading your paper can find the sources on their own.

Sometimes, upon receiving an assignment to write a research paper or an essay, you are asked to provide an annotated bibliography. Unlike common references, the bibliography should include the following material for each of the used sources:

  1. Citation
  2. Brief summary of the source
  3. Personal evaluation and critical analysis as well as insights you have got from the source

When providing a citation, you format it in the style that your professor has asked you: APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, Oxford, Turabian, Vancouver, etc.

Regarding the summary, please provide the information as briefly and concisely as possible. Include only the most important and relevant points on the source. What is the source about? What are the main findings?

Your personal evaluation and insights entail information concerning whether the source was helpful for you in your research, how it helped you in conducting the research, what valuable information you got from it, how the source stands out from the other similar sources, whether you have changed your way of thinking after reading a particular source, whether you were inspired by the ideas presented in the book, etc.

When organizing the annotated bibliography, make sure that the sources are listed in alphabetical order. Also make sure you format the annotated bibliography according to the style required (APA, MLA).