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An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief description of the source in which you basically justify why that source is one of your sources.
You will summarize the relevant information you're getting from that source (but remember, this isn't your paper -- you are summarizing, not presenting all the information itself) as well as how this well help you in your research (by providing background information, by exploring a certain angle, by presenting a contrary idea...).
Creating an annotated bibliography is not simply an academic exercise. An annotated bibliography is a tool to help you summarize your source content and evaluate its place within your research. If a source satisfies your "usefulness" criteria, that source belongs on your annotated bibliography. This process begins the transition from reading sources to incorporating content (ideas, quotes, paraphrasing) into your work. It is time to "make sense" of the knowledge you have gained from your research. This knowledge is the foundation on which to build your own voice, explain your methodology, discuss your conclusions, make and report on your new knowledge.
Of course, evaluation of sources goes beyond "usefulness" to the other elements of authority, credibility, currency, and purpose.
Consulted Saylor Academy's open access course on research concepts and the writing process: Research Writing in The Academic Disciplines. Annotated bibliographies have additional purposes that depend on the intent of the writer/researcher and the specific discipline.
Annotation is a brief and concise statement about the source. Think in terms of a "note" consisting of 5-6 sentences.
One sentence to evaluate why the author is an expert on the topic(authority).
A sentence on the intended audience of the source (purpose).
A few sentences (perhaps a paraphrase) that explain how this source will illuminate your topic and how you will use the content in your paper (usefulness or relevance).
Any other criteria of note for this topic or discipline?
APA Template: Professional Manuscript
This Word document is pre-formatted with placeholders for your information. Everything is defaulted to meet APA 7th ed. requirements for the professional manuscript -- just add content!