University of New England - Innovation for a Healthier Planet

Research Help

Writing an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents used for researching a topic. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

Formatting Citations

Format citations according to the writing style chosen for your assignment. If you aren’t sure, check with your instructor. Citations should be listed in the same order as in a reference list or bibliography.

Get help formatting citations

The Annotation

Each citation is followed by a brief summary and/or evaluative paragraph of about 150 words.

The annotation should summarize the central theme and scope of the book or article. Include one or more sentences which:

  • Evaluate the authority or background of the author
  • Comment on the intended audience
  • Compare or contrast this work with another you have cited
  • Explain how this work illuminates your topic or helps you shape your argument.

The annotations you include in your own bibliography should reflect your research project and/or the guidelines of your assignment.


APA Style

Waite, L. J., Goldschneider, F. K., & Witsberger, C. (1986). Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional

family orientations among young adults. American Sociological Review, 51, 541-554.

The authors — researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University — use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that non-family living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of non-family living.

Example from Cornell University Library’s How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography:

CSE Style

Bingham RA, Ranker TA. 2000. Genetic diversity in alpine and foothill populations of Campanula Rotundifolia (Campanulaceae). Int J Plant Sci 161(3):403-411.

Bingham, a biology professor at Western State College of Colorado, writes that, because of highly effective pollination by bumblebees, some trees do not experience a decrease in genetic variability even when they grow at high elevation. This idea is supported by better research here than in other articles that I found. The research is important to me as I investigate the degree to which hummingbirds migrate the negative effects of cold, high altitude, environments on the pollination of Apache Paintbrush flowers.

Example from the YouTube video tutorial How to Write an Annotated Bibliography: