Writing an Annotated Bibliography
What is the difference between a Bibliography and an Annotated Bibliography?
A bibliography is an alphabetical list of resources (books, websites, articles from magazines, newspapers
or journals, etc.) that you have used in your research. A bibliography may also be referred to as a
‘References’ list (APA citation style) or a ‘Works Cited’ list (MLA citation style). You would include
information such as title, author and publication or journal details for each item.
An annotated bibliography also includes a brief summary and/or an evaluation of each resource. In an
annotated bibliography you assess the available resources on a particular topic. You would want to use
items that are credible, reliable, relevant and time‐appropriate.
Generally, each resource’s annotation would be a paragraph or two long, although your professor may
have other specifications. Depending on your assignment, an annotated bibliography may be one part of
a larger research project, or it may be its own stand‐alone entity.
What would an Annotated Bibliography include?
An annotated bibliography would generally include the following components (check with your
professor for his/her preferred requirements):
A citation for each resource following a citation style such as APA or MLA as required by your
assignment. Citations are listed alphabetically by the author’s last name. See the MLA or APA
style manuals or the Library’s help sheets for more information.
An annotation for each resource, in which you summarise the main arguments, topics and
conclusions. You may also (based on your professor’s guidelines) include an assessment or
evaluation of the item. Ask yourself if it is a useful resource. How does it compare to other
resources you are using? What are the resource’s goals, biases or objectives? What are its
strengths and limitations? How does it relate to your topic or argument?
Note: UOIT students may also access the Academic Success Centre’s learning tool website called NOOL,
Sample Annotated Bibliography Entries
There are a number of options for formatting the annotation portion of an entry (indent the first line of
the annotation, block indent the entire annotation and so on). The examples in this help sheet are one
option – check with your instructor to see if he/she has any preference.
Additional examples may be found by doing a quick Google search for ‘annotated bibliography’. Be sure
to use a reputable site (e.g. from a recognised college or university site).