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Annotated Bibliographies: Home

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The Annotated Bibliography: Definition, Purpose, and Format


An annotated bibliography is a list of citations for articles, books, websites, and other resources used in research. Each citation is followed by an annotation for that item.  An annotation is one or more paragraphs that summarize and evaluate an individual resource.


An annotated bibliography helps a researcher learn about the background of a topic or research problem, including what literature has already been published.  By completing an annotated bibliography, researchers can develop their own point of view on a topic and begin to understand how their research may add to an existing body of scholarly work. Annotated bibliographies also allow researchers to reflect on sources and describe how a source may be used in a paper, project, or presentation. For lengthy research projects, annotations can help a researcher remember what a source discusses and note whether the source is worth rereading and using the future. 


Typically, an entry in an annotated bibliography will include a citation followed by an annotation.  Several of these citation/annotation entries are arranged in alphabetical order according to author in the annotated bibliography.  See sample annotation formats in MLA, APA, and Chicago styles at the Purdue Owl