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Research Writing and Analysis

This page contains information to support researchers with various research tools..

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a summary and evaluation of a resource. According to Merriam-Webster, a bibliography is “the works or a list of the works referred to in a text or consulted by the author in its production.” Your references (APA) or Works Cited (MLA) can be considered a bibliography. A bibliography follows a documentation style and usually includes bibliographic information (i.e., the author(s), title, publication date, place of publication, publisher, etc.). An annotation refers to explanatory notes or comments on a source.

An annotated bibliography, therefore, typically consists of:

  1. Documentation for each source you have used, following the required documentation style.

  2. For each entry, one to three paragraphs that:

    • Begins with a summary,

    • Evaluates the reliability of the information,

    • Demonstrates how the information relates to previous and future research.

Entries in an annotated bibliography should be in alphabetical order.

** Please note: This may vary depending on your professor’s requirements.

Why Write an Annotated Bibliography?

Why Write an Annotated Bibliography

  1. Writing an annotated bibliography will help you understand your topics in-depth.

  2. An annotated bibliography is useful for organizing and cataloging resources when developing an argument.

Formatting an Annotated Bibliography

Formatting Annotated Bibliographies

  • Use 1-inch margins all around
  • Indent annotations ½ inch from the left margin.
  • Use double spacing.
  • Entries should be in alphabetical order.

Structure of an Annotated Bibliography

This table provides a high-level outline of the structure of a research article and how each section relates to important information for developing an annotated bibliography.

Abstract: Reviewing this section allows the reader to develop a quick understanding of the "why" the study was conducted, the methodology that was used, the most important findings, and why the findings are important.

  • Reviewing this section is important as it helps you quickly evaluate if the study is applicable to your specific topic or needs. 
Article Section Questions for Developing the Annotated Bibliography


(Provides the background and sets the stage for the study)

  • What is the research topic?
  • What previous research is being used to support this research?
  • What is the researcher wanting to learn?
    • The hypothesis.
  • Why is the study important?


(The how-to manual of the study)

  • What was the research method/design? 
  • What are the characteristics of the participants?
  • What did the participants do?
  • How was the data collected?
  • What did the researchers do?
Findings/Results: This section will include the results of the data analysis. This section often provides graphs, tables, and figures that correspond with the type of analysis conducted.

Discussion and Summary

(The researcher provides context and relates the findings to the research questions.)

  • Why are the findings important?
  • What are the research implications?
  • Do the findings agree with previous research?
    • Why or why not?
  • Did the researcher answer the research question?
  • What new research does the researcher/s suggest? 

Annotated Bibliography Sample Outline

Author, S. A. (date of publication). Title of the article. Title of Periodical, vol. (issue), page-page.

Write one or two paragraphs that focus on the study and its findings.

  1. Two or more sentences that outline the thesis, hypothesis, and population of the study.
  2. Two or more sentences that discuss the methodology.
  3. Two or more sentences that discuss the study findings. 
  4. One or more sentences evaluating the study and its relationship to other studies.

Sample Annotated Bibliographies

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