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Annotated Bibliography

This guide is focused on annotated bibliographies, without regard to a particular assignment or citation style. Consult your instructor for specific expectations.

Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought."  -Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Annotated Bibliography

Annotated bibliographies are part of the research process. Within a research assignment you have

  • selected a topic,
  • explored the topic with background information,
  • developed a thesis statement or research question based on reading information gathered from multiple expert and/or scholarly sources.
  • Now its time to organize, evaluate and synthesize the sources within an annotated bib.

What is an Annotated Bibliography

Another perspective on the subject by University of Northern British Columbia.

/*double-space, total indent for annotations*/ .annotation1{ Margin-left: 50px; line-height: 215%; font-family: "Times New Roman", Times, serif !important; font-size: 1.1em; }


An annotated bibliography has two major components. The bibliography is an alphabetical listing of citations (sources) you have used during the research and writing process. The citation usually includes the author, title and publication information. An annotation follows each citation, providing specific information about that source. 


  • The citations are alphabetized.
  • The annotation begins on the line following each citation.
  • The annotation is a descriptive paragraph about the source of three to six sentences.*
  • The citation and the annotation are double-spaced.
  • The only line that is left-aligned is the first line of the citation; all other lines are indented.
  • Use the samples for correct citation format

*Check your assignment for the purpose of these sentences and a maximum word count.


The annotated bibliography is a tool.  As you create the document, you are:

  • thinking critically about the content of the works you are using.
  • asking if the information is useful. 
  • proving you have read and understand your subject.
  • affirming the information is authoritative or trustworthy. 
  • creating a framework for the writing process.


Quotation marksThere tend to be three major audiences for annotated bibliographies: the authors of the annotations, instructors, and other researchers. Many people find it useful to craft an annotated bibliography while researching topics.

      Search icon Professional researchers often begin their survey of research by finding annotated bibliographies on a           topic that interests them

Adapted from an assignment developed by