Annotated Bibliography Samples
This handout provides information about annotated bibliographies in MLA, APA, and CMS.
Contributors: Geoff Stacks, Erin Karper, Dana Bisignani, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2018-02-20 13:19:26
For a sample of an entry from an annotated bibliography entry in PDF, click on the downloadable file in the media box above.
Below you will find sample annotations from annotated bibliographies, each with a different research project. Remember that the annotations you include in your own bibliography should reflect your research project and/or the guidelines of your assignment.
As mentioned elsewhere in this resource, depending on the purpose of your bibliography, some annotations may summarize, some may assess or evaluate a source, and some may reflect on the source’s possible uses for the project at hand. Some annotations may address all three of these steps. Consider the purpose of your annotated bibliography and/or your instructor’s directions when deciding how much information to include in your annotations.
Please keep in mind that all your text, including the write-up beneath the citation, must be indented so that the author's last name is the only text that is flush left.
Sample MLA Annotation
Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Anchor Books, 1995.
Lamott's book offers honest advice on the nature of a writing life, complete with its insecuritiesand failures. Taking a humorous approach to the realities of being a writer, the chapters inLamott's book are wry and anecdotal and offer advice on everything from plot development to jealousy, from perfectionism to struggling with one's own internal critic.
In the process, Lamottincludes writing exercises designed to be both productive and fun. Lamott offers sane advice for those struggling with the anxieties of writing, but her main project seems to be offering the reader a reality check regarding writing, publishing, and struggling with one's own imperfect humanity in the process. Rather than a practical handbook to producing and/or publishing, this text is indispensable because of its honest perspective, its down-to-earth humor, and its encouraging approach.
Chapters in this text could easily be included in the curriculum for a writing class. Several of the chapters in Part 1 address the writing process and would serve to generate discussion on students' own drafting and revising processes. Some of the writing exercises would also be appropriate for generating classroom writing exercises. Students should find Lamott's style both engaging and enjoyable.
In the sample annotation above, the writer includes three paragraphs: a summary, an evaluation of the text, and a reflection on its applicability to his/her own research, respectively.
For information on formatting MLA citations, see our MLA 2016 Formatting and Style Guide.
Sample APA Annotation
Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
In this book of nonfiction based on the journalist's experiential research, Ehrenreich attempts to ascertain whether it is currently possible for an individual to live on a minimum-wage in America. Taking jobs as a waitress, a maid in a cleaning service, and a Walmart sales employee, the author summarizes and reflects on her work, her relationships with fellow workers, and her financial struggles in each situation.
An experienced journalist, Ehrenreich is aware of the limitations of her experiment and the ethical implications of her experiential research tactics and reflects on these issues in the text. The author is forthcoming about her methods and supplements her experiences with scholarly research on her places of employment, the economy, and the rising cost of living in America. Ehrenreich’s project is timely, descriptive, and well-researched.
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.
Sample Chicago Manual of Style Annotation
Davidson, Hilda Ellis. Roles of the Northern Goddess. London: Routledge, 1998.
Davidson's book provides a thorough examination of the major roles filled by the numerous pagan goddesses of Northern Europe in everyday life, including their roles in hunting, agriculture, domestic arts like weaving, the household, and death. The author discusses relevant archaeological evidence, patterns of symbol and ritual, and previous research. The book includes a number of black and white photographs of relevant artifacts.
This annotation includes only one paragraph, a summary of the book. It provides a concise description of the project and the book's project and its major features.
For information on formatting Chicago Style citations, see our Chicago Manual of Style resources.
What is an Annotated Bibliography
Many students wonder what is an annotated bibliography and it is not surprising: this task can become a real headache, especially for those, who don’t have enough time or desire to process multiple sources. Annotated bibliography is a review of various sources. It can be both a part of a bigger project and a stand-alone assignment. Unlike abstracts, annotations contain critical information on the source, it main ideas and quality.
Order an Exclusive Paper of Top Standard
100% Originality Assured. Only Qualified Specialists
If you want to learn more of how to write a perfect work, the list of contents may be more than useful. Your annotation should include:
- Bibliographic citation. You should write the full title, its authors and publishing data;
- Information on the author;
- Main idea of the book/article;
- Highlighting of the main argument;
- Data on the target audience;
- Information on the research methods (if any) and the results;
- Highlighting of the useful information, like graphs, calculations and so on;
- Description of the research relevance for your own paper;
- Weak and strong sides of the source;
- Your personal opinion about the text.
If you are using a proper example, it can help you to avoid many mistakes and difficulties, and give a chance to provide a high-quality paper. Try to avoid such mistakes like performing the task as if it was abstract. You should make sure that you analyze the source, not only summarize it. You should also spend time on reading it to give a full overview, as your professor will surely ask additional questions on the subject. Remember that your annotation should be short and straight to the point: it is not a literature review even though they are very alike. And don’t forget to follow the rules of the indicated formatting style. This will help you greatly in avoiding common mistakes.
Annotated bibliography example
While most of the formatting styles are quite alike, there are still some differences, which should be taken into account.
MLA annotated bibliography, as well as Chicago Manual Style Annotation, should provide bibliographic citation in such an order: surname and name of the author, title of the book, name of the publishing house and the year of publishing.
APA style is slightly different: first, you should indicate the surname of the author with his initials, following the year of publishing in brackets. Then you should indicate the title of the book, publishing house and number of pages if needed.
The structure of MLA and APA is quite similar and should summarize and access the source. The second part of the annotation should contain information on its strong and weak sides, as well as author’s opinion if required.
Annotated bibliography template
Using a sample annotated bibliography, every students gets a chance to avoid common mistakes and shape the annotation according to all the rules and requirements. Luckily, there are not many of them and it is quite easy to provide a proper annotation structure. First, you should provide all the details about the source or the citation, like name of the author, title, publishing house and so on. It should be followed by an annotation (a brief summary) and your personal opinion on the subject. You should analyze the source, providing information on its use for your personal project or for the target audience. This section greatly depends on the demands of your professor.
Annotation is usually arranged alphabetically and should be quite brief (around 100-200 words) if your professor doesn’t have other specific requirements. You should also consult your professor what topics you should highlight in the annotation, based on the aim of the assignment.
Annotated bibliography template will be a vivid example and you will be able to create an outstanding annotation without any mistakes and flaws!
Annotated Bibliography Example MLA
Annotated Bibliography Samples
Annotated Bibliography Template
Chicago Style Annotated Bibliography
Examples of Annotated Bibliography
Sample Annotated Bibliography APA
Annotated bibliography topics
It is not difficult to find annotated bibliography topics to write about. Actually, they are limited only to your imagination and indications of your professor. Here are some topics, which may help you decide what to write about:
- Health care reform;
- Acid raining;
- Genetic engineering;
- Animal testing;
- Gun control;
- Human rights;
- Labor rules;
- History of rock-n-roll;
- Nuclear weapons;
- Extreme sports;
By using an annotated bibliography example, you can avoid common mistakes, get additional information on the structure of annotation and find new ideas to write about. It is a great chance for students, who want to write the paper on their own, but don’t know where to start!