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 is this source answering the research question; clarifying your understanding of the research; reviewing the literature of the research, etc.
(3) a sentence at the end of the summary that explains its value to the student.
Your professor may require some variation of standard APA-style annotation. Two examples are illustrated below.
Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
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.