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Annotated Bibliographies

Learn what an annotated bibliography is, and how you can construct one, in this guide.

What IS an annotated bibliography?

For starters, let's make sure we understand the definition of a bibliography. Picture of a large stack of books

A BIBLIOGRAPHY is a list of citations (which generally include the author's name, the title of the work, the place of publication, etc.) to the articles, books, websites, and other sources you used in researching your paper. A bibliography is also sometimes referred to as a works cited page or a References list. Different style guides have different names for bibliographies, and different formats for the citations they include, so be sure to check our Citing your Sources page for more information on how your specific manual formats its references.

Why do we write bibliographies?

  • Your bibliography shows your professor which sources you utilized in researching and writing your paper so she can assess your ability to find pertinent sources.
  • Your bibliography allows your reader to find the sources you relied upon so she can read them herself (or check the information you provided).
  • Your bibliography shows your classmates, and your professor, that you are a capable, credible researcher who gives credit to others where credit is due.

An ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY adds a short paragraph describing and analyzing the source after its citation. These annotations help your reader understand the pros and cons of a specific book or article, and enable them to see how this source fits amongst other works on the same topic. There are two common types of annotated bibliographies: DESCRIPTIVE and CRITICAL. Each is discussed in its own page of this guide. If you are not sure which type of annotation your professor is looking for, be sure to ask!

This guide will teach you all about annotations and how you can construct a great annotated bibliography.

Use the tabs on the left to navigate through the different parts of this guide.