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Annotated Bibliography


Annotated bibliographies are lists of resources that include an evaluative summary of each resource.  More than just a summary of the article, annotated bibliographies give you a chance to critique the resources you're finding.  They can also help you determine whether your research question is viable.  Take a look at some of the resourcs on this page to help you write a strong annotated bibliography!

How do I write an annotated bibliography?

When writing an annotated bibliography, it's helpful to ask yourself these 3 questions for each source:

1. What is this book/journal article/etc really about?  Summarize the main points.  Remember that an annotated bibliography is more than just a summary, however.

2.  How does this resource relate to the other sources in my bibliography?  Is it biased?  Is it basic or advanced?  Who are the authors and how do they compare with the other authors?  Critically analyze your resource and compare it to other resources in your annotated bibliography.

3. How does this resource help or hurt my research?  What is the unique information?  How does this uphold or change your research focus? Should you include it in your paper?  Why or why not?

The point of an annotated bibliography is to tell the story of your research and your thinking process so that when you sit down to write the paper, you have a strong foundation of thought and information.


Take a look at these guides for more detailed information!

  • OWL at Purdue: Annotated Bibliographies  Icon  Icon
    The OWL is a great resource and their online guide gives a good introduction to different types of annotated bibliographies. They also have examples of finished annotated bibliographies.
  • The Writing Center at UNC Chapel Hill  Icon
    This guide goes into detail describing different types of annotated bibliographies. The Writing Center also has some great examples. Take a look at list of elements included in annotated bibliographies to get started!
  • Cornel University Annotated Bibliography Guide  Icon
    This guide is one of the few guides that describes the process of writing an annotated bibliography. The information on 'Critically Appraising the book, article, or document' is a great place to get started. Start here if you already have your resources.
  • SPSU Guide  Icon
    This guide from SPSU has a clear format for creating an annotated bibliography as well as examples. If you are looking for quick, clear information, check this guide out!