How To Write An Annotated Bibliography

“…and don’t forget to add annotated bibliography to your assignments.” These dreadful words were uttered at the last minute of our research session, with no time left to ask any questions I stood numb for a minute only so that my brain could accept and understand all the information that was communicated.
After tremendous requests we were granted a separate session on annotation bibliography only to realize it’s not as confusing as it sounds.

What Is An Annotated Bibliography?

Annotation means to explain something, annotated bibliography is explaining or commenting on the sources that you provided. It summarizes your citations in order to make it easier for your readers to understand the relevance of your sources. This is when you mention a citation and then to briefly describe the study you provide information about the author, mention the year of the study and state what the study is about. One of the best assignment writing services endorse that Annotated Bibliography saves the readers’ time and helps them understand the importance of each mentioned source in one go rather than looking up each one of them.
Here’s an example to help understand the concept:

Example: Sarkar, S. (2007). Potential of kefir as a dietetic beverage: a review. British Food Journal, 109(4), 280-290.
Sarkar (2007) examined the literature in order to determine the nutritional characteristics of kefir, as well as its potential to offer positive health benefits.

Purpose Of An Annotated Bibliography


Questions To Consider In Annotations


Contents Of An Annotated Bibliography

Annotated bibliography begins with references, followed by their description. Annotated bibliography is always numbered and arranged in alphabetical order. Annotated bibliography should include the following content:

  • checked Proper citation.
  • checked Background of the authors.
  • checked Outline the main argument, audience and scope of the text.
  • checked Summarize the main argument.
  • checked Clarify the methodology of the research.
  • checked Conclude what has been presented in the research.
  • checked Discuss how the citation is relevant for your work.

How To Write An Annotated Bibliography

Writing an annotated bibliography becomes easier if you organize your sources properly. Organizing references and keeping track of your citations is very important. Here’s a step by step guide for writing annotated bibliography.

Step1: Analysis of Sources

Proving your source’s credibility is important therefore you have to consider your author’s qualifications, to understand the author’s reliability. Moreover the credibility of the journal also holds importance. An unknown journal will not be credible and would not be a good enough source to cite. Using weak citations will not only impact your research’s authenticity but also your grade. One of the best dissertation writers of UK advised that your source should be recent, a very old source loses its credibility and becomes obsolete therefore keep in mind that all the sources you cite are from the past 5 years unless you are required to cite older sources.

Step2: Create Your Annotations

Annotations can be of four different types, here are the following:

Step3: Annotated Bibliography Format 

Writing style of annotations can change according to the citation format that you are required to follow in your assignment. Here are three common formatting styles and how to write annotated bibliography in each.


APA Style demands reference entry and annotation to be double spaced and left aligned. The annotation follows the reference in the next line. Citations are automatically formatted in APA citation generator when you download the bibliography.

Example: Taylor, Monica And Mal Leicester. Ethics, Ethnicity And Education. Bristol, Pa: Taylor
And Francis, 1992. This Book Is An Important And Inherently Controversial Collection Of Papers That Discusses The Major Moral Issues In Multicultural School Education. Topics Discussed Include The Ethical Aspects Of The Separate Schools Debate, Strategies For Establishing A Democratic School And Preparing Teachers To Be More Moral Educators, And Consideration Of The Values Implicitly Antiracist/ Multicultural Education.


In MLA style, the reference and the annotation are both double-spaced and left-aligned.
The annotation itself is indented 1 inch. If there are two or more paragraphs in the annotation, the first line of each paragraph is indented an additional half-inch, but not if there is only one paragraph.
Your citations will be properly formatted if you are using MLA Citation generator.

Example: Gurko, Leo. Ernest Hemingway And The Pursuit Of Heroism. New York: Crowell, 1968. This Book Is Part Of A Series Called “twentieth Century American Writers”: A Brief Introduction To The Man And His Work. After Fifty Pages Of
Straight Biography, Gurko Discussed Hemingway’s Writing, Novel By Novel. There’s An Index And A Short Bibliography, But No Notes. The Biographical Part Is Clear And Easy To Read, But It Sounds Too Much Like A Summary.


In Chicago style, the entry should be single-spaced and have a hanging indent. The annotation should be indented, double-spaced, and left-aligned.

Example: Kenny, Anthony. A New History Of Western Philosophy: In Four Parts. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Broad History Of Western Philosophy From The Ancient Greeks To The Present Day. Divided Into Four Periods ancient, Medieval, Early Modern, And Modern each Section Begins With A Chronological Overview Of The Key Thinkers, Followed By Chapters Dedicated To Each Significant Subfield In The Period: Metaphysics, Political Philosophy, God, Etc. Kenny Generally Provides Thorough And Fair Assessments Of The Major Philosophers’ Work, But Is Pointedly Dismissive Of Derrida And Other Critical Theorists, Significantly Weakening The Book’s Coverage Of “postmodern” Philosophy

Comparison Between Formats

Double spaced Double spaced reference Single spaced reference
Left aligned Left aligned Indented heading
Annotations follow in the next line after reference Single spaced annotations Double spaced and left aligned annotation

Dos and Don’ts

Now that we have clarified what annotations are here’s a dos and don’ts checklist for further help.


This is everything that you need to know about annotations, I hope this blog was able to help you understand that annotations are not as scary as you might have thought they were.

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If you are a course instructor willing to educate your class or a student who wants to learn then refer to our free presentation slides available for Google slides and Microsoft PowerPoint.

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