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APA Guide

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

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.

How to Create an Annotated Bibliography

Anatomy of an Annotated Bibliography

For annotated bibliographies, use standard APA format for the citations, then add a brief entry, including:

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

     - What are the main arguments?

     - What is the point of this book/article?

     - What topics are covered?

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

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

     - Is this information reliable? current?

     - Is the author credible? have the background to write on this topic?

     - Is the source objective or biased?

• 1 or 2 sentences to reflect on the source.

     - Was this source helpful to you?

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

     - Has it changed how you think about your topic?

Formatting an Annotated Bibliography

The format for an annotated bibliography is similar to that of a research paper.

  • Use one-inch margins on all sides; note "space before" and "space after" should be set to zero
  • Double space your entries;
  • Alphabetize each entry;
  • Hanging indents are required for citations;
  • On the line after the citation, indent two additional spaces and write the annotation.

Example of an Entry in an Annotated Bibliography