Use the links below to learn how to write an annotated bibliography.

An annotated bibliography is a list of sources such as books, articles, and documents. Each source in the bibliography is represented by a citation that includes the author (if given), title, and publication details of the source. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to help the reader evaluate whether the work cited is relevant to a specific research topic or line of inquiry.

Depending on the assignment, an annotated bibliography might have different purposes:

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There are two major types of annotated bibliographies:

“Annotated Bibliography.” The Writing Center. 2003. University of Wisconsin, Madison.5 March 2004 .

Annotated bibliographies are also prepared for the purpose of giving thereader background information on their sources, or to give the reader an idea ofhow their research topic has been treated by other writers over the years.


Creating an annotated bibliography calls for the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research.This handout will explain why annotated bibliographies are useful for researchers, provide an explanation of what constitutes an annotation, describe various types of annotations and styles for writing them, and offer multiple examples of annotated bibliographies in the MLA, APA, and CBE/CSE styles of citation.An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (approximately 150-word) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.An annotated bibliography provides specific information about each source you have used. As a researcher, you have become an expert on your topic: you have the ability to explain the content of your sources, assess their usefulness, and share this information with others who may be less familiar with them. Think of your paper as part of a conversation with people interested in the same things you are; the annotated bibliography allows you to tell readers what to check out, what might be worth checking out in some situations, and what might not be worth spending the time on. It’s kind of like providing a list of good movies for your classmates to watch and then going over the list with them, telling them why this movie is better than that one or why one student in your class might like a particular movie better than another student would. You want to give your audience enough information to understand basically what the movies are about and to make an informed decision about where to spend their money based on their interests.