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The Best Way to Write an Annotated Bibliography

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Steps on How to Write a Good Annotated Bibliography

Below are 3 steps on the best way to write a good annotated bibliography

  1. Find Sources

    First do a comprehensive search for published, scholarly material related to your chosen topic. This sources can be found in your college’s library as well as in online libraries such as EBSCO Connect and PubMed.

  2. Categorize Citations: Support vs. Oppose

    Second, categorize the chosen material into two: citations that support your topic and those that highlight limitations/biases.

  3. Write Short Descriptions

    Third, create a list of sources and write a short description of about 150 words for each. Finally, create a reference list that includes all citations used.

What should students include in an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography assignment for a college class involves 3 components: a citation, an annotation, and a reference list.

  1. Citation

    A citation in an annotated bibliography states the details of the source used such as the name of the author and the title. It is a sub-heading within the body of the annotated bibliography; below which a students describes the citation. The citation should be formatted using guidelines set in the course syllabus and rubric for that particular college class. Examples of popular formatting guidelines used in colleges are APA, MLA, Harvard, Turabian/Chicago, Vancouver, and IEEE.

  2. Annotation

    After writing down the citation, a student should write a short description of that citation. This is usually about 150-200 words long. The description should state how the citation relates to the topic and how important it is in: supporting or opposing a topic/ crediting or discrediting/ proving or  identifying limitations.

  3. Reference list

    Finally, a college student should create a list of references on a separate page. All citations used in writing the annotated bibliography must be added in this section. Students should follow the required formatting guideline as per their coursework.

What does an annotation include?

A comprehensive annotation usually includes pertinent information such as:

  •     A brief summary of the source
  •     Identifies how the source relates to the topic/relevancy
  •     Identifies if the source supports or discredits the topic; or both
  •     Identifies conclusions drawn by the author(s) in the source
  •     Identifies if the source is related to other sources selected
  •     Identifies why the student chose to use the source

How should a student format an annotated bibliography?

In order to learn how to format an annotated bibliography, refer to our referencing guides for each formatting style below:

  1. How to Format College Essays in APA
  2. How to Format College Essays in MLA
  3. How to Format College Essays in Harvard
  4. How to Format College Essays in Chicago/Turabian
  5. How to Format College Essays in IEEE

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