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Annotated Bibliography: Home

This guide walks you through the basic steps of creating an annotated bibliography.

Annotated Bibliography

Annotated bibliographies are great to use for organizing and evaluating your research. This guide will walk you through the elements of creating an annotated bibliography.

Creating An Annotated Bibliography

How To Create An Annotated Bibliography

The research process is messy, and an annotated bibliography can help you keep track of all your sources. An annotated bibliography is a list of sources one has used or will use for researching a topic, and it contains a summary and/or evaluation of each source. An annotated bibliography consists of bibliographic information (citations) and annotations. 

Arrow pointing to cited article, arrow pointing to annotations for article.

Bibliographic Information (Citations): Instead of waiting until the last minute to collect all of your citations, writing an annotated bibliography encourages you to collect them early and keep track of them. Write down the bibliographic information (author(s), title, date, article title, journal title, etc) of each source and put it in alphabetical order by the author's last name. It can be written in whatever format (MLA, APA, etc.) you are working in.

APA Example: 

Gleaves, J., & Lehrbach, T. (2016). Beyond fairness: The ethics of inclusion for transgender and intersex athletes. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport43(2), 311–326. Retrieved from

Annotation: Annotations can consist of summary, evaluation, and/or reflection. Annotations are written in paragraph form, but the length and depth of the annotation will depend on whether you are creating the annotated bibliography for yourself or if it is part of an assignment. The following is an example of APA bibliographic information with an annotation:

See above info.


Summary: It is difficult to remember what each source is about, especially if you have several. Writing up a summary of each source can help you remember the information in each of your sources. Ask yourself: What are the main points of this source? (Summary is bolded in the example.)

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Evaluation: Because research is a messy process, it’s hard to remember how reliable the sources are. Writing an annotation that explains the reliability of the information and how it compares to other sources will help you synthesize the information in the sources. Ask yourself: Is the information reliable? How does it compare to other sources? (Evaluation is italicized in the example.)

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Reflection: Writing down how the source can help you in your research will help you remember how useful the source is. Ask yourself: How will this source help you? (Reflection is underlined in the example.)

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