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Annotated Bibliography

Components of an Annotated Bibliography

  1. Find Sources
    • Finding Books
    • Finding Articles
    • Search Citators

  2. Evaluate Sources
    • Evaluate Your Sources
    • Article Citation Numbers

  3. Cite Sources
    • Citation

  4. Write Annotations
    • Content of the Annotation
    • Sample Annotated Bibliography Entries

What is the difference between a Bibliography and an Annotated Bibliography?

Annotated Bibliography ImageA bibliography is an alphabetical list of resources (books, websites, articles from magazines, newspapers or journals, etc.) that you have used in your research. A bibliography may also be referred to as a ‘References’ list (APA citation style) or a ‘Works Cited’ list (MLA citation style). You would include information such as title, author and publication or journal details for each item.

An annotated bibliography also includes a brief summary and/or an evaluation of each resource. In an annotated bibliography you assess the available resources on a particular topic. You would want to use items that are credible, reliable, relevant and time-appropriate.

Generally, each resource’s annotation would be a paragraph or two long, although your professor may have other specifications. Depending on your assignment, an annotated bibliography may be one part of a larger research project, or it may be its own stand-alone entity.


An annotated bibliography would generally include the following components (check with your professor for specific requirements):

A citation for each resource following a citation style such as APA or MLA as required by your assignment. Citations are listed alphabetically by the author’s last name. See the MLA or APA style manuals or the Library’s help sheets for more information.

An annotation for each resource, in which you summarise the main arguments, topics and conclusions. You may also (based on your professor’s guidelines) include an assessment or evaluation of the item. Ask yourself if it is a useful resource. How does it compare to other resources you are using? What are the resource’s goals, biases or objectives? What are its strengths and limitations? How does it relate to your topic or argument?

Note: Ontario Tech students may also access the Student Learning Centre’s learning tool website NOOL. Search for ‘annotated bibliography’ to find relevant pages.

Creative Commons License

This guide was created by Ontario Tech Libraries and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0 License, except where otherwise noted. 

Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0 License

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