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Annotated Bibliographies: Getting Started

This guide provides information to help you write an annotated bibliography.

What is an Annotated Bibliography?


An annotated bibliography is a list of citations from different sources, followed by a summary and/or evaluation of the source. They are used to examine and review the literature available on a topic, demonstrate sources used in research, and learn more about what you are researching.


Why write one?

  • To show that you have read and understand the sources used in your assignment
  • For personal use to understand current literature on a topic 
  • To help other researchers in the field with finding sources on a topic

What Should I Include in My Annotations?

Always check assignment guidelines for your instructor's expectations of what to include in your annotations!


Annotations usually include one or more of the following:



This would include a summary of the

  • Thesis/argument
  • Content/main points
  • Research methods
  • Scope



  • Reliability
  • Potential bias
  • Limitations
  • Authority or qualifications of the author(s)
  • For more information and help with this, check out our Evaluating Your Sources Guide



  • Usefulness (to your own research or to the field in general)
  • How the source will be used in your own research
  • How the source compares to your own research or others in the field



For help with annotations, feel free to reach out to a librarian -- we're happy to help!