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BHS_CEMS INVENTION PROJECT: APA - How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

CEMS SENIOR PROJECT HELP

REFERENCE PAGE

APA Style, include a reference list rather than a bibliography with your paper.

What’s the difference? A reference list consists of all sources cited in the text of a paper, listed alphabetically by author’s surname. A bibliography, however, may include resources that were consulted but not cited in the text as well as an annotated description of each one. Bibliographies may be organized chronologically, or by subject, rather than alphabetically.

If you have been given an assignment that asks for a bibliography, consult your instructor for more specifics about the required format.

Definition & Format

Annotated Bibliography

bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, Web sites, periodicals, etc.) one has used for researching a topic. An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation. Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources.

Your annotations may do one or more of the following.

  • Summarize: Some annotations merely summarize the source. What are the main arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say? The length of your annotations will determine how detailed your summary is.
  • Assess: After summarizing a source, it may be helpful to evaluate it. Is it a useful source? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source?
  • Reflect: Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic?

Format

The bibliographic information: The bibliographic information of the source (the title, author, publisher, date, etc.) will be written in APA format.

The annotations: The annotations for each source are written in paragraph form. The lengths of the annotations can vary significantly from a couple of sentences to a couple of pages. The length will depend on the purpose. If you're just writing summaries of your sources, the annotations may not be very long (2-3 sentences).

Suggested format & criteria for an annotated works cited entry

Annotated works cited documents require critical research and evaluation skills. Annotations frequently include brief, two-sentence summaries. The following guidelines apply to materials in all formats--books, magazine articles, websites, reference materials, etc.

The most challenging task may be locating the credentials of more obscure authors. Consult biographical reference databases or search for the author’s profile, or resume.

Check with your teacher to see which of the following elements you should include in your annotations:

  • Author's credentials
  • Primary, secondary?
  • Credibility of the publisher or site
  • Scope and purpose of the work: Is it an overview, persuasive, editorial?
  • Timeliness
  • Comparison of the work with others dealing with the same topic or others in your Works Cited list
  • Intended audience
  • Brief summary of contents
  • Evaluation of research: Is the work logical, clear, well-researched? Were the sources the author(s) used credible? Impressive?
  • Evaluation of author bias or lens
  • Relative value of the work to the research question or thesis

Video Tutorial

Sample Annotated Bibliography