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Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography may be required as a part of a larger assignment or as an assignment on its own. In an annotated bibliography, you assess available sources on a topic. An annotated bibliography demonstrates to your professor or TA that you are using credible, valid, reliable, and up-to-date sources. The annotated bibliography may contain as few as five sources or more than fifty. This document can be kept for future reference should you need to complete related research on this topic.

Like a Bibliography (CMS format), a References list (APA format), or a Works Cited list (MLA format), all the sources are listed alphabetically by author’s last name. Confirm with your professor the documentation format you need to follow.  The annotation is a brief summary of the contents of the source, focusing on the main argument and the most important points. It should also include an assessment of the strengths and limitations of the source as it relates to your larger project or the question you are investigating.


  • Source
    • All bibliographic details are given, formatted in the required style of documentation.
    • The sources are listed in alphabetical order by author’s last name.
    • The bibliographic entry is formatted with a hanging indent.
  • Annotation
    • The annotation is written in full sentences and formatted as a block text.
    • The annotation immediately follows the reference and is indented.

Example (APA 6th ed. format):

Marshall, L. (2004). The effects of piracy upon the music industry: A case study of bootlegging. Media, Culture, and Society, 26(2), 163-165.

Marshall’s article explores the effect music piracy has had upon the world, the music industry and the economy. He goes into detail describing what, exactly, bootlegging is. He examines not only the negative effects of bootlegging, but also explores the potential benefits bootlegging could have on the economy. In the end, Marshall believes that the economic benefits of bootlegging nullify any negative outcomes.