What is an annotated bibliography?
A bibliography is an organized list of sources (journal articles, books, government documents, websites, etc.) on a specific subject area. Citations in this organized list include the bibliographic information of each source, such as the author, title, and publication information.
An annotation is a note, explanation, or commentary added to a text, image, or other data.
An annotated bibliography is similar to a bibliography, with the difference being that each citation entry includes a brief description and assessment of the cited source - an annotation. Annotations are short paragraphs which are usually between 150 and 200 words, however, depending on your purpose they may be substantially longer.
An annotated bibliography can serve the following purposes:
- Evaluate / critique consulted sources
- Demonstrate the quality of research and an understanding of cited sources
- Provide a list of consulted resources and different formats
- Serve as a reference for your own research
- Review the available the literature on the subject
- Act as a starting point to develop a thesis, research inquiry, or further research
For examples of annotated bibliographies in APA, MLA, and Chicgago style, see Annotated Bibliography Samples at the Online Writing Lab by Purdue University.
For additional information see CSU, Chico's Annotated Bibliography Library Guide.