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APA Style Annotated Bibliography: Definition and Examples

What is an annotated bibliography? Why write an annotated bibliography? How is an annotated bibliography summary written?

Annotated Bibliographies

A bibliography is a list of sources on a particular topic. Put together, an annotated bibliography is a list of sources on a topic that offers a summary for each source.

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations (or references) for books, articles, documents, etc: all the sources used for your research, with an accompanying paragraph that describes, explains and/or evaluates each entry in terms of quality, authority and relevance.

What is included in the summary part of an annotated bibliography?
Your summary should include the following elements:
(1) a sentence or two that describes the author's credentials, purpose, and audience.

(2) a brief summary of its content, and how this source is answering the research question, clarifying your understanding of the research, and/or reviewing the literature of the research, etc.

(3) a sentence at the end of the summary that explains its value to the student.

Looking for Scholarly Annotated Bibliographies?

5-minute Video: Formatting APA Annotated Bibliography

Sample APA Style Annotated Bibliographies

Your professor may require some variation of standard APA-style annotation. Two examples are illustrated below.





  • Annotated Bibliography is double-spaced throughout.

  • Full Citation precedes annotation.

  • Hanging indent for first line of each reference cited.




The following example uses APA style (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition, 2010) for the journal citation:

This Annotated Bibliography from the Lake-Sumter State College is a good example of APA style citations, accompanied by concise and descriptive annotations.