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Annotated Bibliographies: Home

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The Annotated Bibliography: Definition, Purpose, and Format

Definition

An annotated bibliography is a list of articles, books, websites, and other resources used in research, which also includes an annotation for each resource.  An annotation is a paragraph that summarizes and evaluates an individual resource.

Purpose

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.

Format

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