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APA Style Annotated Bibliography: Definition and Examples

What is an annotated bibliography? Why write an annotated bibliography? This guide will show you how and why your Bibliography and Annotations are important to the research process.

Annotated Bibliographies

A bibliography is a list of sources.

An annotated bibliography includes a summary (or an annotation) for each source.

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography basically an enhanced References page.

Like the References page, it is a list of citations (or references) for all the sources (books, articles, documents, etc.) used for your research.

At the end of each citation, you simply add a short paragraph that describes each article, book, or other source listed on your References page.

What is included in the summary part (or annotation) of an annotated bibliography?

Your annotation/summary should tell the reader:
(1) a brief summary: what's the article about? (hint: look at the article abstract);

(2) a sentence or two that describes the article source (journal article / blog post / book, etc.); 

(3) a sentence at the end of the summary that explains how/where will you use it in your paper.


How do I Write an Annotation?

Keep in mind that annotations are supposed to be a brief description of your source. You’re just giving a summary of the article, and then briefly saying how it relates to your paper - if people reading your bibliography want to know more, they can find the work and read it directly. 

Links to cite it for you:


CiteFast citation generator provides both complete APA Citations and also pre-formatted In-text Citations.


Sample APA Style Annotated Bibliographies


The Annotated Bibliography is formatted exactly like your References page. 

- Citations appear in alphabetical order.

- Double-spaced throughout.
- Full Citation first / then the annotation. 
- Hanging indent for first line of each citation.
- Start the annotation on a new line, but keep it indented within the margins of the citation.
- Use the third person – do not use “I.”
- Use the literary present tense.
Examples: “This article discusses…” ; “In this article, the author supports…”: “This book gives a detailed view on…," “The author describes…"


Citation -  First Line of Citation begins at Left Margin.  Use a ½” Hanging Indent. Annotation -  Appears begins on a new line, directly under the last line of the citation.



The following example uses APA style (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition, 2019) for the journal citations:


4 Steps to Create Your Annotated Bibliography