Q. What is an ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY and how do I do one? Do you have a sample I can see?


An annotated bibliography is the full APA reference of a source followed by notes and commentary about a source. The word “annotate” means “critical or explanatory notes” and the word “bibliography” means “a list of sources”.  Annotations are meant to be critical in addition to being descriptive. Annotated bibliographies are useful because they present a list of resources that others can use for research, and each resource has information that describes what is in it and that evaluates it (describes what makes it unique, useful, or helpful).

For more information, watch the short video at the bottom of this page.


The format for an annotated bibliography is similar to that of a research paper. Use one-inch margins on all sides, double space your entries, and alphabetize each entry. Hanging indents are required for citations.  Indentations for annotations are also formatted using the hanging indent. 


NoodleTools makes formatting an annotated bibliography easy! You may also check out our video below for a demonstration of how to format your annotated bibliography.


If your assignment does not provide something more specific, follow the following guidance on annotations:

·     2 to 4 sentences to summarize the main idea(s) of the source.

o  What are the main arguments?

o  What is the point of this book/article?

o  What topics are covered?

·     1 or 2 sentences to assess and evaluate the source.

o  How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography?

o  Is this information reliable?

o  Is the source objective or biased?

·      1 or 2 sentences to reflect on the source.

o  Was this source helpful to you?

o  How can you use this source for your research project?

o  Has it changed how you think about your topic?

Note: the descriptions and evaluations you provide must be your own writing. Do NOT copy and paste abstracts or summaries from other sources because that would constitute plagiarism.

Below is a sample annotation for a single journal article:

For more information, see the Annotated Bibliography page in the APA Guide.


  • Last Updated Jul 10, 2020
  • Views 68332
  • Answered By Jeneen LaSee-Willemssen

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