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Tips for Writing an Annotated Bibliography

Find out what an annotated bibliography is, see an example and access sites with more information.

What's an Annotated Bibliography?

""An annotated bibliography is a list of sources such as articles and books cited according to a designated format such as APA or MLA and accompanied by a thoughtful evaluation of the source.

Generally these are the kinds of things to include in your annotation:

  1. The qualifications of the author to write about the topic.
  2. The purpose of the work.
  3. The main points the author makes about the topic.
  4. Whether it is useful in the study of the topic.
  5. How it compares to other works on the topic.

Citation Help

COM Library databases can help you cite your articles, books or eBooks. See step by step instructions for grabbing your citation with change it tips from the databases on the Grab a Citation pages in Cite APA or MLA style guides.

Annotated Bibliography Example

Where to Find the Info

1. Qualifications of Author

Limit your articles to scholarly/peer reviewed articles and you'll generally be able to find the qualifications of the authors on the first page of the article. The qualifications generally consist of advanced degrees and affiliations with colleges or universities. If you're not sure how, go to Tips for Academic & Scholarly Articles.

2. Purpose of the Work

You can frequently find the purpose in the abstract of the article. If there is no abstract, the first section of the article generally states the purpose.

3. Main Points

This you will have to find throughout the article. Frequently there are different main points to each section of the article. It might help to jot them down as you read.

4. Whether it is Useful

This you will also find through reading the article. You should ask: Did I learn anything? Did the authors discover something new about the topic? Did they provide data or statistics? Did they do their own original research such as experiments, human studies or surveys or did they review existing articles--or both? The more you learned or discovered something new, the more useful the articles is.

5. How it Compares

You will have to read all of the articles for your annotated bibliography before you can determine this. Once you've read them all you can compare them to each other. You should ask: Which article did you learn the most from? Which article made the most important points?  How many sources did the authors use when doing their research?

Formatting Your Citation

Your citation will need to be formatted with a hanging indent. Here's how:

  1. Grab your citation from your database.
  2. In Word, choose the Keep Text Only option when you paste it in your paper.
  3. Place your cursor at the beginning of your second line, before any text.
  4. Right click your mouse.
  5. Select Paragraph from the resulting pop up menu.
  6. Under Indentation, use the Special pull-down menu to select hanging.
  7. Use the By menu to select 0.5"