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Welcome to MyBib

Generate formatted bibliographies, citations, and works cited automatically

What is mybib.

MyBib is a free bibliography and citation generator that makes accurate citations for you to copy straight into your academic assignments and papers.

If you're a student, academic, or teacher, and you're tired of the other bibliography and citation tools out there, then you're going to love MyBib. MyBib creates accurate citations automatically for books, journals, websites, and videos just by searching for a title or identifier (such as a URL or ISBN).

Plus, we're using the same citation formatting engine as professional-grade reference managers such as Zotero and Mendeley, so you can be sure our bibliographies are perfectly accurate in over 9,000 styles -- including APA 6 & 7, Chicago, Harvard, and MLA 7 & 8.

Quick features:

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography - APA Style (7th Edition)

What is an annotation, how is an annotation different from an abstract, what is an annotated bibliography, types of annotated bibliographies, descriptive or informative, analytical or critical, to get started.

An annotation is more than just a brief summary of an article, book, website, or other type of publication. An annotation should give enough information to make a reader decide whether to read the complete work. In other words, if the reader were exploring the same topic as you, is this material useful and if so, why?

While an abstract also summarizes an article, book, website, or other type of publication, it is purely descriptive. Although annotations can be descriptive, they also include distinctive features about an item. Annotations can be evaluative and critical as we will see when we look at the two major types of annotations.

An annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources (like a reference list). It differs from a straightforward bibliography in that each reference is followed by a paragraph length annotation, usually 100–200 words in length.

Depending on the assignment, an annotated bibliography might have different purposes:

  • Provide a literature review on a particular subject
  • Help to formulate a thesis on a subject
  • Demonstrate the research you have performed on a particular subject
  • Provide examples of major sources of information available on a topic
  • Describe items that other researchers may find of interest on a topic

There are two major types of annotated bibliographies:

A descriptive or informative annotated bibliography describes or summarizes a source as does an abstract; it describes why the source is useful for researching a particular topic or question and its distinctive features. In addition, it describes the author's main arguments and conclusions without evaluating what the author says or concludes.

For example:

McKinnon, A. (2019). Lessons learned in year one of business.  Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting ,  30 (4), 26–28. This article describes some of the difficulties many nurses experience when transitioning from nursing to a legal nurse consulting business. Pointing out issues of work-life balance, as well as the differences of working for someone else versus working for yourself, the author offers their personal experience as a learning tool. The process of becoming an entrepreneur is not often discussed in relation to nursing, and rarely delves into only the first year of starting a new business. Time management, maintaining an existing job, decision-making, and knowing yourself in order to market yourself are discussed with some detail. The author goes on to describe how important both the nursing professional community will be to a new business, and the importance of mentorship as both the mentee and mentor in individual success that can be found through professional connections. The article’s focus on practical advice for nurses seeking to start their own business does not detract from the advice about universal struggles of entrepreneurship makes this an article of interest to a wide-ranging audience.

An analytical or critical annotation not only summarizes the material, it analyzes what is being said. It examines the strengths and weaknesses of what is presented as well as describing the applicability of the author's conclusions to the research being conducted.

Analytical or critical annotations will most likely be required when writing for a college-level course.

McKinnon, A. (2019). Lessons learned in year one of business.  Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting ,  30 (4), 26–28. This article describes some of the difficulty many nurses experience when transitioning from nursing to a nurse consulting business. While the article focuses on issues of work-life balance, the differences of working for someone else versus working for yourself, marketing, and other business issues the author’s offer of only their personal experience is brief with few or no alternative solutions provided. There is no mention throughout the article of making use of other research about starting a new business and being successful. While relying on the anecdotal advice for their list of issues, the author does reference other business resources such as the Small Business Administration to help with business planning and professional organizations that can help with mentorships. The article is a good resource for those wanting to start their own legal nurse consulting business, a good first advice article even. However, entrepreneurs should also use more business research studies focused on starting a new business, with strategies against known or expected pitfalls and issues new businesses face, and for help on topics the author did not touch in this abbreviated list of lessons learned.

Now you are ready to begin writing your own annotated bibliography.

  • Choose your sources - Before writing your annotated bibliography, you must choose your sources. This involves doing research much like for any other project. Locate records to materials that may apply to your topic.
  • Review the items - Then review the actual items and choose those that provide a wide variety of perspectives on your topic. Article abstracts are helpful in this process.
  • The purpose of the work
  • A summary of its content
  • Information about the author(s)
  • For what type of audience the work is written
  • Its relevance to the topic
  • Any special or unique features about the material
  • Research methodology
  • The strengths, weaknesses or biases in the material

Annotated bibliographies may be arranged alphabetically or chronologically, check with your instructor to see what he or she prefers.

Please see the  APA Examples page  for more information on citing in APA style.

  • Last Updated: Aug 8, 2023 11:27 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.umgc.edu/annotated-bibliography-apa

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APA Citation Guide (7th Edition): Annotated Bibliography

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Annotated Bibliography

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An  annotated bibliography  is a list of citations for various books, articles, and other sources on a topic. The annotated bibliography looks like a References page but includes an annotation after each source cited. An annotation is a short summary and/or critical evaluation of a source. Annotated bibliographies can be part of a larger research project, or can be a stand-alone report in itself.

Basic Tips on Formatting

  • Start with the same format as a regular References list.
  • The first line of the citation starts at the left margin and subsequent lines are indented 0.5 inches (hanging indent).
  • The annotation begins on a new line and is indented 0.5 inches from the left margin.
  • Entries are double-spaced with no extra lines between entries.
  • If the annotation consists of more than one paragraph, indent the first line of each successive paragraph an additional 0.5 inches.
  • Use the third person (e.g., he, she, the author) instead of the first person (e.g., I, my, me).

Sample Evaluative Annotation

Maak, T. (2007). Responsible leadership, stakeholder engagement, and the emergence of social capital.  Journal of Business Ethics ,  74 , 329-343. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-007-9510-5

This article focuses on the role of social capital in responsible leadership. It looks at both the social networks that a leader builds within an organization, and the links that a leader creates with external stakeholders. Maak’s main aim with this article seems to be to persuade people of the importance of continued research into the abilities that a leader requires and how they can be acquired. The focus on the world of multinational business means that for readers outside this world many of the conclusions seem rather obvious (be part of the solution not part of the problem). In spite of this, the article provides useful background information on the topic of responsible leadership and definitions of social capital which are relevant to an analysis of a public servant.

Useful Links for Annotated Bibliographies

The formatting of annotated bibliographies can vary. The University Libraries recommend the format exhibited in the examples below, but if you are still unsure what format to use, ask your professor. 

  • Includes a sample of one APA annotation (from the Purdue OWL).
  • A guide covering the basics of writing an annotated bibliography.
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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / Citation Basics / Annotated Bibliography Format & Examples

Annotated Bibliography Format & Examples

A complete guide to the mla & apa annotated bibliography.

If you’ve just received an assignment that requires an MLA or APA annotated bibliography, you may be wondering where to start. This guide will help answer all of your questions and includes step-by-step instructions on how to do an annotated bibliography in MLA style, as well as an APA annotated bibliography. You will also find sample annotated bibliographies, real-life examples, and opportunities to practice what you have learned.

The MLA ( Modern Language Association ) and APA (American Psychological Association) are not associated with this guide. All of the information provided here, however, offers direction for students and researchers who use these citation styles in their work.

The structures and annotated bibliography templates on this page were created by the in-house librarians at EasyBib.com.

If you’re simply looking for an example of an annotated bibliography (both in MLA format and APA format), scroll down toward the bottom of the page. We’ve included links to visuals for those of you who need help with the structure and styling of an annotated bibliography. If you’re looking for a variety of annotated bibliography topics, and you’re truly searching for the answer to, “What is an annotated bibliography?” then continue reading!

Here’s a run-through of everything this page includes:

Table of contents

What is an annotated bibliography, annotations vs. abstract, why include annotations.

  • Step 1: Analyze your sources

Step 2: Write the descriptions

  • Step 3a: Formatting an MLA style annotated bibliography
  • Step 3b: Formatting an APA style annotated bibliography

Annotated Bibliography Templates

Using the easybib annotation tool.

A bibliography is a complete list of the sources that were used to complete a research paper or project.

Depending on the style guide you follow, you may also see this called a Works Cited (also called an MLA bibliography) or Reference List (APA format). Each listed source, or citation , shares information about the author, title, publishing year, and other details that serve to credit the original authors whose work informed your research. These details also help other students and researchers find and read the source materials.

When your research is related to a scholastic assignment, you should always verify your instructor’s requirements for the types and number of sources to include, as well as the style you should adhere to when formatting your paper and bibliography.

An MLA annotated bibliography and an APA format annotated bibliography are bibliographies that include a concise explanation, or annotation , of each listed source. Depending on the assignment, this annotation may be solely descriptive, or analytical.

An abstract and annotation should not be confused; they differ in both their substance as well as their placement in a paper.

Annotations: 

  • Usually found in bibliographies at the end of a paper
  • Are subjective
  • Purpose is to summarize and evaluate . It should briefly communicate the work’s main point, but also discuss the background of the author or study, and the strengths/weaknesses of the work.

Abstracts: 

  • Usually found in journal databases or the beginning of a paper
  • Are objective
  • Purpose is to summarize . It should provide a short overview of the article and communicate the main points and themes.

If you would like to learn more , this link further explores the difference between an abstract and an annotation.

This resource provides additional information on how to write a bibliography with annotations in other formats. You can also take advantage of the plagiarism checker and bibliography tools that come with EasyBib Plus to help you create your reference lists.

Before you learn how to make an annotated bibliography, you may be wondering why you need to.

Sometimes instructors want you to create and include annotations in your bibliography, either as part of an assignment or as an assignment unto itself. Understanding the purpose of this approach to your reference list can help to ensure that you gain all of the benefits that the annotated bibliography process provides.

As a student, this method will help you develop or hone your research skills, providing you with practice not only in locating sources but also in analyzing and evaluating them for relevance and quality.

Your instructor will gain insight into your research abilities, as well, allowing them to assess your work more thoroughly. If you plan to publish your research, this comprehensive approach to detailing your sources will provide readers and other researchers with a substantial directory of resources to evaluate for their own work.

Whether you’re publishing or submitting your annotated bibliography, make sure your spelling and wording is correct! If you need to brush up on any parts of speech topics, check out our interjection , determiner , and adverb pages!

Step 1: Analyze your sources 

Each annotation should be a summarization or analysis of your source. If you have been tasked with writing annotations as part of a research paper or project, begin to create both the citation and notes on the source while you identify and analyze your sources.

Not only will this approach help you to hone your research skills and identify sources that are relevant and useful for your topic, but you will also save time. When done in this manner, both your citations and annotations will be nearly complete before you begin to write the body of your paper.

Analyzing your potential sources requires a two-pronged approach that first evaluates the author, publication, and date, and then examines the content.

When conducting your initial assessment of the source, consider some of the following questions to guide your appraisal:

  • What qualifies the author to write on this subject?
  • Is the author affiliated with a reputable institution in this field?
  • Is the author credentialed or otherwise considered an expert in this field?
  • Is this source current?
  • Is this the most recent edition?
  • Is the publisher reputable?
  • Is the journal reputable?

Once your primary evaluation is complete, you will move on the assessing the content itself. Consider some of these elements as you review each source:

  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the author presenting her opinion or interpretation as the truth, or stating facts?
  • What supporting evidence does the author provide?
  • Did the author perform the research, or curate and present the research of others?
  • If the author used the research of others, are the sources the author cites credible?
  • Are there errors or omissions of fact?
  • Is the author writing objectively and without bias?

Also, consider the value each source provides to you:

  • Is the information helpful for your particular assignment?
  • Does it help answer your research question(s)?
  • Is this source different from your other sources, or does it repeat information you already have?
  • Is the source providing you with a different perspective on your topic, or changing your beliefs or thinking about your subject?

To make it easier for you to create your reference page, write your notes in the format you will be using when you construct this part of the assignment (for instance, as short phrases or complete sentences). Once you have identified all of the sources you wish to include, you will merely need to insert what you have already written on the page and write your citation, which is explained in the next section.

Click here for additional information and a supplementary annotated bibliography sample. For an MLA bibliography example (with annotations),  check out our visual example of an MLA annotated bibliography .

An annotated bibliography entry may be written either as short phrases or complete sentences. Your instructor will advise you of which approach you are required to take.

Annotations should include either:

  • The main points from the source, as well as the topics covered, the approach used, and any findings.
  • Or your critical evaluation.
  • A standard annotation is approximately one paragraph.
  • Take care not to include any unnecessary details, as the goal is to summarize each source as succinctly as possible and, in some cases, evaluate them.
  • Your field of study or instructor will determine what format your annotated bibliography will use. In this guide, you’ll find examples of an MLA and an APA annotated bibliography.

Here is an annotated bibliography example MLA annotation for the book The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase by UK author and blogger Mark Forsyth:

The author, Mark Forsyth, examines the rhetorical devices used in the English language, analyzing the patterns and formats that create memorable quotes. He traces the history of rhetoric to the Ancient Greeks, and provides an abridged timeline, following their use and evolution through to modern day. The author also explores the broader subject of persuasion and maps out the role that the figures of rhetoric play in it. In all, he examines over thirty devices, dissecting notable passages and phrases from pop music, the plays of William Shakespeare, the Bible, and more to explore the figures of rhetoric at work within each of them. Thorough definitions accompany this examination of structure to demonstrate how these formulas have been used to generate famously memorable expressions as well as how to reproduce their effects.

Notice how the annotated bibliography MLA entry above is descriptive enough so the reader has an idea of what the source is about with just a single paragraph. For more information on annotations, check out this informative site . If you’re looking to strengthen your writing in general, reading these grammar guides could be a good start.

For guidance on creating entries in MLA format , APA format , and more styles , check out the EasyBib library of resources or try the EasyBib annotation tool—we talk about it below!

Step 3a: MLA annotated bibliography format

The MLA Style Center and the current edition of the MLA Handbook provide the following guidance for formatting an MLA annotated bibliography:

  • Title your reference page as “Annotated Bibliography” or “Annotated List of Works Cited.”
  • Place each annotation after its reference.
  • Annotations should typically not exceed a single paragraph.
  • Annotations should be indented one inch from the start of your citation.
  • Double-space all text on the page.
  • 1-inch margins around the page.

Sources in an annotated bibliography can be organized alphabetically by the first word in each reference (as with a normal Works Cited page), by publication date, or by subject.

For a visual example of an annotated bibliography, as well as specific annotation examples, visit the MLA annotated bibliography guide .

MLA annotated bibliography

If you are required to share your references in a manner other than in MLA bibliography format, the EasyBib style guides can help you with many common styles. While you’re at it, check out their conjunction , preposition , and pronoun pages to help keep your paper in mint condition!

Step 3b: APA annotated bibliography format

The American Psychological Association states that your instructor should set the guidelines for your annotated bibliography, but asks that the bibliography be formatted according to their standard reference page rules (see Section 9.51 of the Publication Manual ). If your teacher has requested an APA formatted annotated bibliography, first ask them for guidelines. Otherwise, here are some quick rules for you to follow:

  • Double space all text on the page.  
  • Title your page “Annotated Bibliogra phy”. Bold and center the title.  
  • Organize references alphabetically by the first word of each reference.  
  • Only the first line of a ref erence is flush with the left margin. Any other lines after the first line should be indented ½ inch from the left.  
  • Add annotations on the next line after their paired reference.   
  • Fully indent annotations by a ½ inch from the left.  
  • Keep annotations short. No more than one paragraph.  

For examples of a  properly formatted APA annotation, visit this guide on APA annotated bibliographies .  

In comparison to the sample annotated bibliography MLA, the APA sample formats its page elements and references differently.

annotated bibliography maker apa free

Students and researchers who type their research notes can save time by using an annotated bibliography template in MLA format while reviewing and analyzing sources. By adding the relevant information into a pre-formatted template, you’ll create a resource that helps you when you begin writing your paper in addition to saving time by completing your references and summaries alongside your research.

Students who prefer to take notes by hand can employ a modified version of this approach, with an additional step required to transfer your handwritten and formatted references from your notebook to populate your reference page.

Bibliography Template for MLA

To create an annotated bibliography MLA template, copy the following details into the program in which you will take notes or hand write it on the top margin of a page in your notebook. For each source, use this template to guide you as you identify the necessary details and insert them into your notes:

  • Author (Last name, First name).
  • Title of source.
  • Title of the container ,
  • Other contributors (names and roles),
  • Publication Date,
  • Location of the source (such as URL or page range).
  • Summary or Analysis.

The MLA 9 model for MLA works cited entries offers a single format for all source type, and a great deal of flexibility to include the information most relevant to your topic and omit that which isn’t.

Hopefully our visual annotated bibliography example in MLA above has helped. If you still have lingering questions, visit the MLA Style Center online ( linked here ). Also, here’s a guide if you’re looking for more on the related topic of MLA in-text & parenthetical citations .

Bibliography Template for APA

Students and researchers who are still asking themselves how to piece together an annotated bibliography, or still questioning what is an annotated bibliography, could probably benefit from a template, similar to the one above. This one, however, is for those of you who are tasked with creating an annotated bibliography in the style created by the American Psychological Association.

The tricky thing about this specific style though, is that every reference is styled differently. Books, websites, journal articles, newspaper articles, and many others each have their own reference structure.

For most sources though, you should look for the following, basic information:

  • Type of source
  • Author (last name, first name)
  • Title of source/article/web page, etc.
  • Title of where source was found (e.g., database name, website name, etc.)
  • Other contributors (names and roles)
  • Location of the source (such as URL, DOI, or page range)
  • Summary or Analysis

We understand it can get tricky, and it’s very different from the Modern Language Association’s structure for references. Take a moment to either use the other handy guides on EasyBib.com or use our automatic generator to form your references in just a few clicks. Our tools help take the pain away from having to rack your brain to form references properly. Capitals, lowercase letters, italics, quotation marks, punctuation in the appropriate places, it can all be quite overwhelming. Do yourself a favor, and use the EasyBib automatic citation generator.

Even though there are a lot of different variations, here’s a commonly used structure for sources:

Author’s Last Name, First initial, Middle initial. (Year the source was published). Title of the source . Retrieved from (insert the website address here)

Underneath the reference, include your summary or analysis paragraph.

Hopefully, this page helped answer all of your “What is an annotated bibliography?” questions. If you’re seeking out an annotated bibliography generator, follow the steps above the annotated bibliography examples.

Looking for additional help with other related topics? Don’t forget about the various beneficial guides on EasyBib.com! Our APA in-text citation guide and our APA parenthetical citation guide are two of our most popular pages. Learn the ins and outs of referencing your work in the body of your paper with our thorough, complete, and reader-friendly guides.

If you are creating a bibliography in MLA format, the EasyBib MLA bibliography generator can help save you time formatting your citations and annotations correctly. You can create entries for websites, books, videos, databases, dictionary articles, and many other types of sources.

In addition to forming the citations, you can also enter your annotation text to produce the complete entry for each source. The process for this is simple. You can follow along below to practice creating one:

  • First, select your source type from among the 50+ available options. For this example, we will use the acting career of Keanu Reeves as our research topic and use the movie Point Break from 1991 as our first source. To cite this film, you would select the option for “Film/Online Video.” As you follow along, pick the option that is suitable for your source if you are using a different example.
  • Enter the title of your source or, if you are citing a website, you may enter the URL. (Now would be a great time to peek at how to cite websites in MLA ). After you enter the title or URL for your reference, the EasyBib citation tool will scan for titles that match it and provide you with a list of results. Select “Cite this” next to the listing that matches your source.
  • You will see a citation form. This gives you the option to add additional relevant or necessary information. For our sample topic, we will specifically cite Keanu Reeves as the performer and Kathryn Bigelow as the director.
  • After entering any additional details, you have the option to expand your entry and include an annotation. To do so, select “Add annotation” at the bottom of the page, and a text box will open up.

Then, type your summary or analysis into the text box. If you took notes during the research stage using the format of your paper, this might be as simple as copying and pasting your already written summary or critique. Once you have entered all of the necessary information, select “Create citation” to generate the complete entry. You can then copy and paste this into your MLA bibliography.

Here’s what it’ll look like:

Point Break . Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, performance by Keanu Reeves, 20th Century Fox, 1991.

Reeves’ role as rookie FBI Agent Johnny Utah in Point Break marks the turning point in his Hollywood film career. While he’d risen to fame due to the success of the Bill and Ted franchise, his status today as an action star began when Point Break provided him with the material to establish himself as capable of portraying more than the lovable but unserious characters of his previous starring roles. In a parallel arc, director Kathryn Bigelow’s career also sees a shift beginning with Point Break , establishing her within the traditional action genre as a serious director capable of creating high-action and visually memorable films. While Point Break leaves plenty to be desired in terms of dialogue, it afforded Bigelow and Reeves the opportunities to showcase themselves and their talent in new ways that still echo in their work today.

  • Works Cited

Harner, James L.  On Compiling an Annotated Bibliography . 2nd ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2000.

MLA Handbook . 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . 7th ed., American Psychological Association, 2020.

“What Guidance Should I Give My Students for Preparing an Annotated Bibliography?” The MLA Style Center , The Modern Language Association, 4 Nov. 2016, style.mla.org/annotated-bibliographies/.

Visit our EasyBib Twitter feed to discover more citing tips, fun grammar facts, and the latest product updates.

Published October 18, 2015. Updated July 25, 2021.

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau. Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and is the in-house librarian at EasyBib.com. Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing.

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An annotated bibliography is a list containing complete information of sources, such as journals, books, and reports, cited in the text. In addition, it provides a brief description of each source in about 100–150 words. The annotation can explain the topics covered in the source or evaluate the source. The main objective of giving the annotation is to provide the reader the importance, accuracy, and value of the source.

An example of an annotated bibliography in APA style is given below.

Lim, L. (2014). Ideology, rationality and reproduction in education: A critical discourse analysis. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 35 (1), 61–76. https://doi:10.1080/01596306.2012.739467

Lim (2014) focuses on issues of power and ideology dominant in curricular discourses of rationality to study a discourse analysis of the goals of one of the most important curricula in the teaching of thinking. He proves that political and class commitments are reproduced in the forms of thinking that are valued in societies. Through his research, Lim asserts that such curricula engage in making our understanding of what thinking and rationality are. It must facilitate the social reproduction of a specific proportion of the middle class.

If you want to evaluate or provide a description of a source you are citing, you can create an annotated bibliography. Write your annotation in 100–150 words and add it below the source for which you are providing your annotation. Remember, your annotation should provide the reader the importance, accuracy, and value of the source. Below are the guidelines and rules to be followed while writing an annotated bibliography for APA style:

Order your reference entries in alphabetical order, similar to how you would order entries in the reference list.

If you want to add an annotation to an entry, add it as a fresh paragraph below the reference entry. The annotation is indented 0.5 inches from the left margin. However, the first line of the annotation is not indented.

To format the annotated bibliography, follow the recommendations given below:

Set the left, right, top, and bottom margins to 1 inch.

Give double-line spacing.

Title the page “Annotated Bibliography.” Set it in bold.

The title should be aligned to the center of the page.

As you format reference entries, left-align all references in the annotated bibliography section. If any entry runs over more than a line, indent the subsequent lines 0.5 inch from the left margin.

Arrange all reference entries alphabetically according to the surname of the authors.

Provide your annotations below the reference entry for which you want to give your annotation. Indent annotations 0.5 inches from the left margin.

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Our Complete Guide to Citing in APA 7 Format

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In this comprehensive guide, we will explore how to write an academic paper in APA, including formatting in-text citations and reference lists.

Our detailed examples will help you seamlessly incorporate accurate citations into your work, ensuring you produce high-quality academic content. Mastering APA citations will not only improve your writing but also boost your credibility as a researcher.

Let's dive into the world of APA citations!

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Apa format overview.

The American Psychological Association format is a widely-accepted citation style, particularly in the social sciences. It follows a set of rules for formatting in-text citations and reference lists to ensure consistency and clarity in academic writing. By adhering to these guidelines, you can enhance the readability of your work and make it easier for others to understand and reference your research.

APA citations have two main components: in-text citations and entries in the reference list.

In-text citations are brief notations within the body of your paper that indicate the source of your information.

The reference list is a comprehensive list of all sources cited in your work, listed in alphabetical order. This guide will help you understand and create both types of these citations with ease.

Create APA In-text Citations

In-text citations are used to acknowledge the sources of your information within the body of your paper. These citations typically include the author's last name and the publication year, enclosed in parentheses. For in-text citations, APA uses the author-date system.

If you are quoting directly from a source, you must also include the page number(s). For example: (Downey, 2020, p. 42) .

When paraphrasing general information from a source, you only need to include the author's last name and publication year. For example: (Andrews, 2020) .

If you are citing multiple sources in a single parenthetical citation, separate them with a semicolon, like so: (Cyrus, 2020, p. 9; Swift, 2019, p. 395) .

For sources with multiple authors, follow these guidelines:

  • Two authors: Include both authors' last names, separated by an ampersand (&). Example: (Wharton & Simmons, 2023) .
  • Three or more authors: Include the first author's last name followed by "et al." Example: (Trump et al., 2020) .

Citing a source with no publication date ? Use "n.d." instead of the year: (Mau, n.d.) .

If you're citing multiple sources with the same author and publication year , add a lowercase letter (a, b, c, etc.) after the year to distinguish them: (Johnson, 2019a) and (Johnson, 2019b) .

Format Your APA Reference List

Formatting a reference list in APA requires attention to detail and adherence to specific guidelines. By following these steps, you can ensure that your reference list is accurate, consistent, and meets APA style requirements.

Here are the key steps you need to take to format a reference list in APA:

  • Start a new page: Begin your reference list on a new page after the body of your paper. The page should be titled "References" and should be centered at the top of the page. The reference list should be double-spaced, with a hanging indent for each entry.
  • List your sources in alphabetical order: Your reference list should be organized in alphabetical order by the last name of the first author of each source. If a source does not have an author, alphabetize it by the title.
  • Use hanging indentations: Each reference should be formatted with a hanging indentation. This means that the first line of each reference should be flush with the left margin, while the second and subsequent lines should be indented.
  • Include all necessary information: Each reference should include all the necessary information required by APA style. This typically includes the author's name, publication date, title, and publication information such as the journal or book title, publisher, and page numbers.
  • Follow the appropriate format for each source type: Different types of sources may require slightly different formatting in APA style. For example, books, journal articles, and websites may each have slightly different citation requirements.
  • Check for accuracy: Be sure to check each reference for accuracy, including spelling and punctuation, as well as proper capitalization and italics.

Screenshot of an APA reference page

Adhering to APA guidelines reflects a commitment to scholarly standards. Therefore, correctly formatted reference lists ensure that the writer avoids plagiarism, by giving credit to the original sources of information used in their work.

Cite Books in APA

To cite a book in your reference list, follow this format:

For example:

For edited books, include the editor's initials and last name, followed by "(Ed.)" or "(Eds.)" for multiple editors.

Citing a book with an editor as the author:

In cases where the book is part of a series or multi-volume set, include the volume number in parentheses after the title.

Common exceptions:

When referencing an ebook, it's crucial to provide the DOI or the URL if the DOI is unavailable. If your book is translated, remember to include the translator's initials and last name in addition to the original author's information. Additionally, if you're citing a specific chapter or section within a book, mention the page range where the cited information can be found. Later, we will cover these examples in detail.

Cite Journal Articles in APA

To cite a journal article in your reference list, follow this format:

For the journal articles that you accessed online, from JSTOR or a different online database, make sure to include the DOI or the URL if the DOI is unavailable.

If the article has two authors, the citation should include both names, separated by an ampersand (&).

Citing an article with two authors:

If the article has three or more authors, only the first author's name should be listed followed by "et al."

Citing an article with three and more authors:

In some cases, the journal article may not have an author. In this situation, the title of the article is used in place of the author's name.

Citing a journal article without an author:

Cite Websites in APA

Citing a webpage in your APA reference list? Use the following format:

However, quite often web pages don't have an identified author. In this situation, the title of the article is used in place of the author's name.

Citing a website without an author:

When citing a website with an organization as the author, you can use the organization's name as both the author and the website name if they are the same.

Citing a website published by an organization:

In cases where both the author and publication date are unavailable, begin with the webpage title, followed by "n.d." for "no date," the site name, and the URL.

For webpages that are part of a larger work, such as online articles or blog posts, use the specific webpage title, not the site name, in italics.

Remember to adjust the citation format accordingly to accommodate these exceptions and maintain the integrity of your references.

Cite Book Chapters in APA

Citing a book chapter in APA format requires you to include the chapter author and the book editor(s). The format is:

If the book has multiple authors, the citation should include the names of all the authors separated by commas, the year of publication, the chapter title, the editor's name, the book title, and the page numbers of the chapter.

Citing a book with multiple authors:

If the book chapter is from an edited book with no authors listed, the citation should include the chapter title, the editor's name, the book title, and the page numbers of the chapter.

Exceptions to these guidelines can arise if the book chapter is part of a larger work, such as an encyclopedia or handbook. In these cases, the citation should include the title of the larger work in italics followed by the page numbers of the chapter.

Citing a chapter from a collection of works:

Cite Ebooks in APA

Citing an ebook in APA format follows the same guidelines to citing a printed book, with the exception of adding a book DOI or URL. The format for citing an ebook is:

If the ebook has a DOI (Digital Object Identifier), the citation should include it at the end of the reference.

Exceptions to these guidelines can arise if the ebook is from a database or if it is a chapter within an edited ebook. In these cases, additional information may be required in the citation, such as the name of the database or the editor of the ebook.

It is important to consult the APA manual or a reliable online resource for guidance on citing these types of sources.

Cite Translated Books in APA

When citing a source that has been translated, include both the original author and the translator in the reference list entry:

Cite Magazine Articles in APA

When citing a magazine article in your APA reference list, use the following format:

If the magazine article is found online, you should also provide the URL or DOI at the end of the citation.

Cite Newspaper Articles in APA

For newspaper articles, the APA citation format is similar to magazine articles:

If the article is found online, include the URL or the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) if available, but do not include the page numbers.

If the newspaper article has no page numbers, you can use the section name or paragraph number instead. For an electronic newspaper, as seen in the example above, you can omit the page number of paragraph altogether.

Cite Conference Papers in APA

To cite a conference paper in your APA reference list, use the following format:

However, the specific details of the citation may change depending on the source and accessibility of the conference paper.

If the proceedings are published in a book, the citation format will also include the book title and publisher, as well as a DOI or a URL, if available.

Citing a conference paper published in a book:

When citing a paper presented at a conference but not published in the proceedings, you can format the citation as follows:

In the case of abstracts retrieved from a database, include the name of the database and accession number, if available:

Cite Audio & Visual Media in APA

For audiovisual materials like films, television series, and YouTube videos, include the contributor(s) most relevant to your source, such as the director, or if not available, then producer, or writer. The format is:

However, there are some exceptions to this format. If the audio or video material is retrieved online, the citation should include a URL or DOI.

When citing a material from a larger work , such as a television series or album, the citation should include the specific episode or track information, as well as the title of the larger work.

Citing a TV series episode:

Cite Podcasts in APA

To cite a podcast episode in APA format, use the following citation structure:

If the podcast is part of a larger series, the citation should include the title of the podcast series or network. Or, if the podcast is hosted by a group or organization, the host name can be included after the episode title, separated by a comma.

Additionally, if the podcast episode features a guest or interviewee, their name should also be included in the citation.

By following these guidelines and paying attention to specific requirements for different scenarios, you can accurately cite a podcast in APA format.

Cite Social Media Posts in APA

For social media posts, use the following format in your APA reference list:

Citing a Twitter post:

Citing an Instagram post:

Citing a Facebook post:

However, there are certain exceptions when it comes to citing social media posts in APA format. These exceptions mainly involve the type of content being cited and the platform on which the content appears. You can learn more about citing various social media posts on the APA Style website .

Cite Images & Artworks in APA

To cite an online image or artwork in your APA reference list, the format is:

However, not all artwork citations are created equal. For instance, in such cases when information about the creator, date, or title is not available, you should provide as much information as possible and use descriptive placeholders.

If the creator's name is unknown, use "Anonymous" or a description of the creator's role (e.g., "Photographer" or "Artist").

For an unknown date, use "n.d." (no date) in place of the year. If the title is not provided or cannot be determined, create a brief descriptive title in square brackets.

Citing an artwork without an author, date or title:

Additionally, when citing an artwork from a museum or other physical location, include the name and location of the institution or collection housing the artwork.

Citing an artwork viewed at a museum:

Cite Theses & Dissertations in APA

When using a thesis or dissertation in your APA citation list, use the following format:

Cite State Documents in APA

For government documents, include the name of the government, the department or agency, and the title of the document in your APA reference list entry:

Citing a government document:

If the document has a specific author, list their last name, followed by their initials, and then the agency in parentheses.

Cite Databases & Data Sets in APA

When citing datasets or statistical data, include the author, publication year, title of the dataset, version, publisher, and the DOI or URL in your APA reference list entry:

Note that when citing a specific article, book, or other work retrieved from a database, you should generally cite the original work, not the database itself.

Cite Mobile Applications in APA

Citing mobile applications in APA format requires the author, the app's publication year, the app's title, the version, and the platform in your reference list entry:

Don't forget to conclude the citation with the app's URL or the name of the platform where the app can be downloaded (e.g., App Store, Google Play Store)!

Cite Classical Works in APA

When citing classical works, such as the Bible or ancient Greek and Roman texts, use the specific edition or translation you used and include the book, chapter, and verse numbers in your in-text citation:

( Holy Bible , King James Version, 1 Cor. 13:4–7)

Previously, APA Style guidelines treated classical and ancient works differently than other types of sources. However, in the latest edition of the APA style manual, the citation for such sources has been updated to follow the format of a book citation. In the reference list, it is now essential to provide the edition or translation information for these works.

N.B. When referencing classical works, the original publication year is often unknown or irrelevant; instead, provide the year of the translation or version you are using in parentheses, followed by a period.

Cite Court Cases in APA

For legal materials, such as court cases, laws, or statutes, include the title of the case, law or statute, the publication year, the volume and page numbers, and the URL in your APA reference list entry:

When citing court cases in-text, use the case name in italics and the year of the decision:

( Brown v. Board of Education , 1954)

Cite Online Lectures & TED Talks in APA

When citing online lectures, webinars, or TED Talks, include the speaker, the date, the title of the talk, and the URL in your APA reference list entry:

Cite Course Materials & Lectures in APA

For course materials or lecture notes, include the author (if available), the publication year, the title of the material or lecture, the course code, and the URL or the location where the material was accessed in your APA reference list entry:

Secondary Citations & Personal Communications

When citing a source that you have not read but was cited in a source you have read (secondary citation), mention the original source in your text and include the secondary source in your reference list. Use the phrase "as cited in":

Andersen (2009, as cited in Johnson, 2021) argues that...

In the reference list:

Citing personal communications, such as emails, interviews, or private messages, requires a different approach in APA format. These sources are not included in the reference list, as they are not recoverable by your readers.

Instead, simply cite them in the text using the format:

(A. Tisdale, personal communication, Month Day, Year).

In-text citation example for personal communications:

According to S. Johnson (personal communication, April 18, 2023) , the project will be completed by the end of this month.

APA Style: Final Notes

As you can see, the APA citation format provides a consistent and clear method for citing various types of sources in your research. By mastering the APA citation style, you will not only make your work more professional but also help your readers easily locate the sources you have used.

We hope this comprehensive guide on APA citation style has provided you with a solid foundation for citing sources in your research. Remember that Bibcitation is here to help you with all your citation needs, offering accurate and easy-to-use citation tools.

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Our annotated bibliography service provides you with an opportunity to have one-on-one chats with your annotated bibliography helper, giving you a chance to discuss your requirements and get personalized assistance. Our team of experts is available to help you at any time, and we ensure that you get the best possible experience by providing personalized support. We understand that communication is vital when it comes to creating an annotated bibliography that meets your needs, and that is why we prioritize one-on-one communication. Contact us today and enjoy a personalized annotated bibliography service.

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Once we have identified relevant sources, we evaluate them based on their relevance, credibility, and authority.

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We generate a brief summary, evaluation, and relevance of each source, making sure to include such details as the authors’ names, publication date, and title of the work, among others.

Step 4: Formatting

We follow the guidelines required by the specified citation style, such as the use of italics or capitalization rules.

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We understand that different subjects require different types of sources, and that's why we only use authoritative and credible sources. Our team of experts has access to various academic databases, including peer-reviewed journals, academic books, government publications, websites, and multimedia materials. We also use primary sources such as interviews and surveys when required.

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  • Evaluative Annotated Bibliography - APA 7 | MLA
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Annotated Bibliography Samples

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This handout provides information about annotated bibliographies in MLA, APA, and CMS.

Below you will find sample annotations from annotated bibliographies, each with a different research project. Remember that the annotations you include in your own bibliography should reflect your research project and/or the guidelines of your assignment.

As mentioned elsewhere in this resource, depending on the purpose of your bibliography, some annotations may summarize, some may assess or evaluate a source, and some may reflect on the source’s possible uses for the project at hand. Some annotations may address all three of these steps. Consider the purpose of your annotated bibliography and/or your instructor’s directions when deciding how much information to include in your annotations.

Please keep in mind that all your text, including the write-up beneath the citation, must be indented so that the author's last name is the only text that is flush left.

Sample MLA Annotation

Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life . Anchor Books, 1995.

Lamott's book offers honest advice on the nature of a writing life, complete with its insecurities and failures. Taking a humorous approach to the realities of being a writer, the chapters in Lamott's book are wry and anecdotal and offer advice on everything from plot development to jealousy, from perfectionism to struggling with one's own internal critic.

In the process, Lamott includes writing exercises designed to be both productive and fun. Lamott offers sane advice for those struggling with the anxieties of writing, but her main project seems to be offering the reader a reality check regarding writing, publishing, and struggling with one's own imperfect humanity in the process. Rather than a practical handbook to producing and/or publishing, this text is indispensable because of its honest perspective, its down-to-earth humor, and its encouraging approach.

Chapters in this text could easily be included in the curriculum for a writing class. Several of the chapters in Part 1 address the writing process and would serve to generate discussion on students' own drafting and revising processes. Some of the writing exercises would also be appropriate for generating classroom writing exercises. Students should find Lamott's style both engaging and enjoyable.

In the sample annotation above, the writer includes three paragraphs: a summary, an evaluation of the text, and a reflection on its applicability to his/her own research, respectively.

For information on formatting MLA citations, see our MLA 9th Edition (2021) Formatting and Style Guide .

Sample APA Annotation

Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America . Henry Holt and Company.

In this book of nonfiction based on the journalist's experiential research, Ehrenreich attempts to ascertain whether it is currently possible for an individual to live on a minimum-wage in America. Taking jobs as a waitress, a maid in a cleaning service, and a Walmart sales employee, the author summarizes and reflects on her work, her relationships with fellow workers, and her financial struggles in each situation.

An experienced journalist, Ehrenreich is aware of the limitations of her experiment and the ethical implications of her experiential research tactics and reflects on these issues in the text. The author is forthcoming about her methods and supplements her experiences with scholarly research on her places of employment, the economy, and the rising cost of living in America. Ehrenreich’s project is timely, descriptive, and well-researched.

The annotation above both summarizes and assesses the book in the citation. The first paragraph provides a brief summary of the author's project in the book, covering the main points of the work. The second paragraph points out the project’s strengths and evaluates its methods and presentation. This particular annotation does not reflect on the source’s potential importance or usefulness for this person’s own research.

For information on formatting APA citations, see our APA Formatting and Style Guide .

Sample Chicago Manual of Style Annotation

Davidson, Hilda Ellis. Roles of the Northern Goddess . London: Routledge, 1998.

Davidson's book provides a thorough examination of the major roles filled by the numerous pagan goddesses of Northern Europe in everyday life, including their roles in hunting, agriculture, domestic arts like weaving, the household, and death. The author discusses relevant archaeological evidence, patterns of symbol and ritual, and previous research. The book includes a number of black and white photographs of relevant artifacts.

This annotation includes only one paragraph, a summary of the book. It provides a concise description of the project and the book's project and its major features.

For information on formatting Chicago Style citations, see our Chicago Manual of Style resources.

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  • How to create an MLA style annotated bibliography

MLA Style Annotated Bibliography | Format & Examples

Published on July 13, 2021 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on March 5, 2024.

An annotated bibliography is a special assignment that lists sources in a way similar to the MLA Works Cited list, but providing an annotation for each source giving extra information.

You might be assigned an annotated bibliography as part of the research process for a paper , or as an individual assignment.

MLA provides guidelines for writing and formatting your annotated bibliography. An example of a typical annotation is shown below.

Kenny, Anthony. A New History of Western Philosophy: In Four Parts . Oxford UP, 2010.

You can create and manage your annotated bibliography with Scribbr’s free MLA Citation Generator . Choose your source type, retrieve the details, and click “Add annotation.”

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Table of contents

Mla format for annotated bibliographies, length and content of annotations, frequently asked questions about annotated bibliographies.

The list should be titled either “Annotated Bibliography” or “Annotated List of Works Cited.” You may be told which title to use; “bibliography” is normally used for a list that also includes sources you didn’t cite in your paper or that isn’t connected to a paper at all.

Sources are usually organized alphabetically , like in a normal Works Cited list, but can instead be organized chronologically or by subject depending on the purpose of the assignment.

The source information is presented and formatted in the same way as in a normal Works Cited entry:

  • Double-spaced
  • Left-aligned
  • 0.5 inch hanging indent

The annotation follows on the next line, also double-spaced and left-aligned. The whole annotation is indented 1 inch from the left margin to distinguish it from the 0.5 inch hanging indent of the source entry.

  • If the annotation is only one paragraph long, there’s no additional indent for the start of the paragraph.
  • If there are two or more paragraphs, indent the first line of each paragraph , including the first, an additional half-inch (so those lines are indented 1.5 inches in total).

MLA annotated bibliography

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MLA gives some guidelines for writing the annotations themselves. They cover how concise you need to be and what exactly you should write about your sources.

Phrases or full sentences?

MLA states that it’s acceptable to use concise phrases rather than grammatically complete sentences in your annotations.

While you shouldn’t write this way in your main text, it’s acceptable in annotations because the subject of the phrase is clear from the context. It’s also fine to use full sentences instead, if you prefer.

  • Broad history of Western philosophy from the ancient Greeks to the present day.
  • Kenny presents a broad history of Western philosophy from the ancient Greeks to the present day.

Always use full sentences if your instructor requires you to do so, though.

How many paragraphs?

MLA states that annotations usually aim to be concise and thus are only one paragraph long. However, it’s acceptable to write multiple-paragraph annotations if you need to.

If in doubt, aim to keep your annotations short, but use multiple paragraphs if longer annotations are required for your assignment.

Descriptive, evaluative, or reflective annotations?

MLA states that annotations can describe or evaluate sources, or do both. They shouldn’t go into too much depth quoting or discussing minor details from the source, but aim to write about it in broad terms.

You’ll usually write either descriptive , evaluative , or reflective annotations . If you’re not sure what kind of annotations you need, consult your assignment guidelines or ask your instructor.

An annotated bibliography is an assignment where you collect sources on a specific topic and write an annotation for each source. An annotation is a short text that describes and sometimes evaluates the source.

Any credible sources on your topic can be included in an annotated bibliography . The exact sources you cover will vary depending on the assignment, but you should usually focus on collecting journal articles and scholarly books . When in doubt, utilize the CRAAP test !

Each annotation in an annotated bibliography is usually between 50 and 200 words long. Longer annotations may be divided into paragraphs .

The content of the annotation varies according to your assignment. An annotation can be descriptive, meaning it just describes the source objectively; evaluative, meaning it assesses its usefulness; or reflective, meaning it explains how the source will be used in your own research .

No, in an MLA annotated bibliography , you can write short phrases instead of full sentences to keep your annotations concise. You can still choose to use full sentences instead, though.

Use full sentences in your annotations if your instructor requires you to, and always use full sentences in the main text of your paper .

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  • Potential Sources

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

Annotations vs. abstracts, the process, sample annotation in apa, guide attribution, an annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. each citation is followed by a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. the purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited., abstracts are the purely descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles or in periodical indexes. annotations are descriptive and critical; they may describe the author's point of view, authority, or clarity and appropriateness of expression., creating an annotated bibliography calls for the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research.   first, locate and record citations to books, periodicals, and documents that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic. briefly examine and review the actual items. then choose those works that provide a variety of perspectives on your topic.   cite the book, article, or document using the appropriate style.   write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article. include one or more sentences that (a) evaluate the authority or background of the author, (b) comment on the intended audience, (c) compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or (d) explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic., belcher, d. d. (2004). trends in teaching english for specific purposes.  annual review of applied      linguistics, 24 (3), 165-186. doi: 10.1017/s026719050400008x..

This article reviews differing English for Specific Purposes (ESP) trends in practice and in theory. Belcher categorizes the trends into three non-exclusive sects: sociodiscoursal, sociocultural, and sociopolitical. Sociodiscoursal, she postulates, is difficult to distinguish from genre analysis because many of the major players (e.g., Ann Johns) tend to research and write in favor of both disciplines. Belcher acknowledges the preconceived shortcomings of ESP in general, including its emphasis on “narrowly-defined venues” (p. 165), its tendency to “help learners fit into, rather than contest, existing…structures” (p. 166), and its supposed “cookie-cutter” approach. In response to these common apprehensions about ESP, Belcher cites the New Rhetoric Movement and the Sydney School as two institutions that have influenced progressive changes and given more depth to “genre” (p. 167). She concludes these two schools of thought address the issue of ESP pandering to “monologic” communities. Corpus linguistics is also a discipline that is expanding the knowledge base of ESP practitioners in order to improve instruction in content-specific areas. Ultimately, she agrees with Swales (1996) that most genres that could help ESL learners are “hidden…or poorly taught” (p. 167) and the field of genre is only beginning to grasp the multitude of complexities within this potentially valuable approach to the instruction of language—and in turn, writing. This article provides examples as well as expert opinion that I can use in my project. I have long believed that ESL pedagogy is troubled by tendencies towards xenophobia and this article validates my concerns while also providing me with evidence to support my claims about the current disciplines in ESL studies. As I pursue a career in teaching ESL, I can use this information to help me choose the right coursework in my graduate studies. I can also let this guide who I become as a teacher and what I prioritize.

Some of the content for this guide page was created by:

Olin Library Reference Research & Learning Services Cornell University Library Ithaca, NY, USA

We have received permission from Olin Library Reference to reproduce it and adapt the content for our own use.

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  1. APA annotated bibliography

    An annotated bibliography is a special type of bibliography that provides additional information about the sources listed in the references list. The aim of an annotated bibliography is to either provide details of the topics discussed in the source or assess the source. The two types of annotations are descriptive and evaluative.

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  12. What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

    An annotated bibliography is a list of source references that includes a short descriptive text (an annotation) for each source. It may be assigned as part of the research process for a paper, or as an individual assignment to gather and read relevant sources on a topic. Scribbr's free Citation Generator allows you to easily create and manage ...

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  20. Annotated Bibliography Samples

    Some annotations may address all three of these steps. Consider the purpose of your annotated bibliography and/or your instructor's directions when deciding how much information to include in your annotations. Please keep in mind that all your text, including the write-up beneath the citation, must be indented so that the author's last name ...

  21. MLA Style Annotated Bibliography

    MLA provides guidelines for writing and formatting your annotated bibliography. An example of a typical annotation is shown below. Kenny, Anthony. A New History of Western Philosophy: In Four Parts. Oxford UP, 2010. Broad history of Western philosophy from the ancient Greeks to the present day. Divided into four periods—ancient, medieval ...

  22. Creating an Annotated Bibliography

    Creating an annotated bibliography calls for the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research. First, locate and record citations to books, periodicals, and documents that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic. Briefly examine and review the actual items.