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APA 7th Edition Guide

This guide provides an overview of the APA citation style and provides students with basic information to begin learning and applying this style in their academic writing.

Creating an Annotated Bibliography

Components of an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is an APA reference list that includes a brief summary and analysis -- the annotation --  under the reference entry.  

An annotated bibliography includes:

  • APA Title page
  • Pages are numbered beginning with title page
  • APA formatted reference list​ beginning on own page
    • References centered and bolded at top of page
    • Entries listed in alphabetical order
    • Annotations begin under its associated reference
    • Annotations are indented 0.5 inches from the left margin
    • The entire document is double spaced; no extra space between entries

Example of an annotated bibliography entry:

Writing an Annotation

An annotated bibliography is composed of the full APA reference for a source followed by notes and commentary about that 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.

Annotations are generally between five to seven sentences in length and appear directly under the APA reference.  The entire annotation is indented 0.5 inch from the left margin and lines up with the hanging indent of the APA reference.

Use the question prompts below as a guide when writing annotations:

• 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

An annotated bibliography includes:

  • a title page, and
  • the annotated bibliography which begins on its own page with the word References bolded and centered at the top of the page.

Each entry begins with an APA reference for the resource with the annotation appearing directly beneath. The entire annotation is indented 0.5 inches from the left margin.

Entries are listed in alphabetical order. The entire document is typed on one of the six approved font styles and sizes and is double spaced.  There is no additional space between entires.

Consider using Academic Writer or NoodleTools to create and format your annotated bibliography.  


APA Citation Style Resources and Tools

APA Academic Writer

Use the tools in the References tab to create APA references for the resources in your annotated bibliography.  The form includes a text box for your annotation.  You can create your title page and assemble your annotated bibliography in the Write tab in this authoritative resource.


Create and format your annotated bibliography in NoodleTools Find information on how to create an account, create APA references, and creating and formatting an annotated bibliography in the NoodleTools Guide.

This video below provides an overview of how to create an annotated bibliography including evaluating resources, writing annotations, creating APA references, and formatting the final document in the APA style.