How to Write an Annotated Bibliography?

Many students get confused by it. However, it is not that difficult. If you have been set an annotated bibliography, you have found yourself in the right place because, in this post, we are going to notify you about everything you should know to make an excellent annotated bibliography! Let’s go through how to write a perfect one.

What Is An Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is like a reference list in a way that it is an organized list of sources used in the preceding text. The primary way in which it differs from a standard bibliography is that each reference needs to be followed by a short annotation of no more than around 200 words in most cases. Take a look at some tips and examples.

There are some purposes for which you might  set an annotated bibliography:

  • It can be useful in formulating a thesis on a subject;
  • Providing a literary review on that subject;
  • Illustrating your research;
  • Highlighting significant sources of information available;
  • Describing ideas that others may find of use.

To get some practical help you can use this annotated bibliography writing service, which employs only the best experienced professional writers.

Types Of Papers

There are a few ways how bibliographies can differ from each other. Firstly, we recognize two major categories: informative (or descriptive) and critical (or analytical).

The former is similar to an abstract in a way that it describes and provides a summary of the source. Its job is to convey to the reader why the source might be useful, how it is distinctive. It merely depicts the author’s key ideas, arguments, and conclusions without individually analyzing them.

The latter type of annotation adds evaluation of what the academic says. You must give an overview of the firm and weak points of their work as well as argue how the author’s judgments can be applied to your research. In most cases, you will be asked to write this type of annotated bibliography.

General Guidelines

Before you get started writing an annotated bibliography, pay attention to how it needs to be approached. Planning is critical as with any assignment.

Firstly, choose relevant sources that would support your ideas: you will only be able to do this effectively after doing some prior research on the subject. Find out what materials are available to you that can be applied.

Secondly, review those sources. Make sure you select a range of them that allow you to provide different perspectives on the topic: for this purpose, you can employ article abstracts.

Finally, you can start writing your citations and annotation. Remember: full citation needs to come first, followed by an annotation. This is useful guidance to follow:

  • Purpose of the work
  • Summary of the content
  • Target audience
  • How relevant it is to the topic examined
  • Sharp and/or weak points of the material
  • Anything remarkable about the source

There are two ways to arrange annotated bibliographies: alphabetically or chronologically. It is best to check with your instructor what they prefer. You can also find some helpful information on this resource.

Different Styling Of Paper

There are several common ways to format citations. Your instructor should have mentioned to you which format they want to see: the three most common ones are APA, MLA, and Chicago style.


APA annotated bibliography is commonly used in social science courses. Emphasis is placed on the work’s creation date – it is often recorded in the visible text, as well as immediately following the author’s name in a bibliography. After that, work title, the city of publication and publisher are mentioned. Refer to the APA manual for further details on how to correctly use this format. If you require help, you can also buy papers in APA style from a reliable, experienced company.


This citation format is mostly employed in humanities courses. Here it is authorship that is of most importance because sources don’t tend to become outdated as much: author’s name is mentioned in the real text and comes first in the list at the end. The order is altered with work title following the name, then publisher and finally publication year. More information can be found in the latest MLA manual. For your peace of mind, you can also purchase a research paper in MLA template.


Chicago style annotated bibliography is often found in history courses. It highlights source origins; therefore footnotes and endnotes are widely used to point out where the information originated from. A separate number is assigned to each fact used in the text – the correlating note links the source to the book and the bibliography. Check out the CMOS manual to obtain more information.

Useful Tips

Annotated bibliography format can differ from class to class, so always be sure to check with your teacher before writing anything. You will usually be instructed unambiguously when your assignment is set. Check out this useful guide!

Use one paragraph per reference

While it will generally suffice to include no more than a paragraph for each reference, sometimes, depending on the purpose, you may have to provide an extensive analysis of the source. This is especially the case when you are explicitly asked to assess for bias and criticize sources: your annotation could even span several pages if necessary!

Don’t stop on one viewpoint

It is not difficult to find an example of your annotated bibliography template on the web. So your research should include looking at several examples, paying close attention to what each format requires. As previously mentioned, each subject emphasizes a different aspect of the source. Therefore, when writing a science annotation, you will not only be likely using a different format but also focusing on whether there has been recent research on the subject that would make earlier sources obsolete. This is unlikely to be a common issue in literature because there is more room for discussion and different viewpoints with all of them being valid and relevant.

Take as a basis the most reliable sources

History finds itself in the middle. If more reliable primary sources are discovered, they can negate prior research and judgments invalidating many of the previously deemed reliable sources. So take great care when looking for your references to ensure you use the generally accepted ones and avoid the obscure unreliable ones. When you get help from a website that writes papers for you, they do proper research from reliable resources. Therefore, many students prefer custom paper writing service over writing a paper on their own. It seems a good option to seek help from professional writers.

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