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APA 7th Edition Guide: Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

A bibliography is a list of references to books, articles, or other items consulted during the research process, while an Annotation is a note of explanation and evaluation of a particular item being referenced. Therefore, an Annotated Bibliography is a list of references that include an explanatory note below each reference that summarizes and provides an evaluation of the content of the reference.

What is the Benefit of Writing an Annotated Bibliography?

The process of writing an annotated bibliography provides a structured process to learn about a research topic. It causes you to read the available research (also referred to as the literature) more closely as you develop a better understanding of the topic, related issues, and current trends. Time spent writing an annotated bibliography will help you develop a well thought out thesis statement or develop a literature review.

What should an Annotation Include?

A well-written annotation consists of three parts:

  • Summary – includes the main points, arguments, and topics covered in the reference being annotated.
  • Evaluation – assesses the quality of the source compared to other sources in the bibliography. It may also be important to note the goal, reliability, and objectivity of the reference being annotated.
  • Reflection – How does this reference change your understanding of the topic? How will you use the reference in your research? How does the reference affect your thesis? If you do not intend to use the reference in your work then briefly explain why.

How should an Entry to an Annotated Bibliography be Formatted?

Below is an example of how to format a reference and annotation:

GENERAL FORM:
Author’s Last Name, Initials, & 2nd Author’s Last Name, Initials. (Year). Title of article: Subtitle of article. Title 

of Journal, volume number (issue), page range. doi: xxx.xxxxx

This is an example of an annotation of a scholarly article. The annotation should be 200 to 300 words

long and include a Summary of the main points, arguments, and topics covered in the reference. Then

you should Evaluate the quality of the source compared to other sources in the bibliography. Your

evaluation may include notes on the goal, reliability, and objectivity of the reference being annotated. 

Then you will want to include a Reflection that covers how the content of the reference changed your

understanding of the topic. How you intend to use the reference in your research? How does the

reference affect your thesis? If you do not intend to use the reference in your work then briefly explain

why. Once you finish writing your annotation go to the next double-spaced line and enter the next entry

of your annotated bibliography.

EXAMPLE:

Hatnik, L., Calloway, S., Joy, N., Owen, F. A., & Constantine, G. A. (2017). Leadership creativity as social

action and transformation: A case study. International Journal of Leadership Studies, 14(3), 72-78.

doi:11.1702/jls.21719

This article presents a case study that addresses the difficulty students have in connecting class content

with real-life social problems. As a potential solution for this problem, students enrolled in a university

course on social, global, and environmental issues worked on a creative project with a charity that aids

women leaving incarceration. The course coupled this community work with class readings, discussions,

and guest speakers, leading students to have a deeper learning experience that also benefited the

target community. While the case study’s conclusions provide potentially helpful information, the authors

neglect to provide any hard evidence for the assumed difficulty in connecting class content to real-life

problems. Furthermore, the authors admit at one point that a few students doubted various aspects of

the class, but this group is not addressed in the conclusions section of the article. Despite a few

shortcomings, the case study does provide a useful strategy that can help young leaders gain real-world

experience which can be adapted to the high school setting I am researching.

Each color coded section respresents the following sections of the annotation: Summary, Reflection, and Evaluation
 

How Should an Annotated Bibliography be Formatted using APA 7th edition

The format of an annotated bibliography follows the same format as any APA paper.

  • Include a title page [See Title Page Setup]
  • Page numbers will begin on the title page and on each page of the annotated bibliography
  • Font style and size are the same as any other APA paper [See General Formatting]
  • The order of the references should be in alphabetical order by the lead author’s last name [See Reference Page]
  • Each reference should be formatted in hanging indent paragraph formatting
  • The annotation portion should be lined up with the hanging portion of the reference (see the example below)

An example of an Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography Title Page

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Create your own Annotated Bibliography by Downloading this Annotated Bibliography Template

Download the Annotated Bibliography Format Guide

For information on how to effectively write an annotated bibliography entry go to: 

UNT Dallas Writing Lab Annotated Bibliography

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