An annotated bibliography is a list of cited sources about a particular topic, in which each citation is
followed by a brief annotation, or discussion of the source. The annotation usually consists of just
one paragraph, but your instructor may require more. An annotated bibliography is useful for
documenting your research in a specific area, exploring varying viewpoints, and summarizing
main points from different sources. Format requirements of an annotated bibliography vary
greatly from one documentation style to another; please refer to a style manual for specific format
requirements (ex: MLA, APA, CBE, Chicago, etc.). There are two parts to every entry in an annotated
bibliography: the citation and the annotation.
The citation includes the bibliographic information of the source. The documentation style required
for this information depends upon your particular academic field and will usually be assigned by
your professor (some common styles include MLA, APA, CBE, and Chicago). Follow the
instructions for the assignment, and the guidelines in the appropriate documentation handbook.
Citations are organized alphabetically.
Sample Journal Citation in MLA format:
Gilbert, Pam. “From Voice to Text: Reconsidering Writing and Reading in the English Classroom.”
English Education 23.4 (1991): 195-211. Print.
The annotation is a brief paragraph following the citation. Purpose of the Annotation: The
annotation of a source can serve several different purposes; your professor may require your
annotations to do some of the following:
condense the content of the source (write a brief summary of the information)
evaluate the credibility of the source (analyze for authority, accuracy, currency, objectivity)
assess the usefulness or relevant application of the source
discuss the writer’s background (examine expertise or layman knowledgeability)
analyze the intended audience (education, age, experience, needs, bias)
describe your reaction (credible source? value of source? analytical/emotional reaction?
The length of an annotation depends upon the assignment. Shorter annotations will most likely
cover only main points and themes; longer annotations may require a more in-depth
description, discussion, or evaluation of the source. Consult the specific requirements for your
assignment as your professor may dictate a word count or length for each annotation.
See the opposite side of this handout for sample annotated bibliography entries . . .
Revised Fall 2011
BCC-UCF Writing Center
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