Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

APA Citation Guide (APA 7th Edition): Annotated Bibliography

Useful Links for Annotated Bibliographies

Annotations

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations for various books, articles, and other sources on a topic. The annotated bibliography looks like a Reference list but includes an annotation after each source cited. An annotation is a short summary and/or critical evaluation of a source. Annotated bibliographies can be part of a larger research project, or can be a stand-alone report in itself.

Types of Annotations

 A summary annotation describes the source by answering the following questions: who wrote the document, what does the document discuss, when and where was the document written, why was the document produced, and how was it provided to the public. The focus is on description. 

 An evaluative annotation includes a summary as listed above but also critically assesses the work for accuracy, relevance, and quality. Evaluative annotations can help you learn about your topic, develop a thesis statement, decide if a specific source will be useful for your assignment, and determine if there is enough valid information available to complete your project. The focus is on description and evaluation.

Writing an Evaluative Annotation

  1. Cite the source using APA style.
  2. Describe the main ideas, arguments, themes, theses, or methodology, and identify the intended audience.
  3. Explain the author’s expertise, point of view, and any bias he/she may have.
  4. Compare to other sources on the same topic that you have also cited to show similarities and differences.
  5. Explain why each source is useful for your research topic and how it relates to your topic.
  6. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each source.
  7. Identify the observations or conclusions of the author. 
 Remember: Annotations are original descriptions that you create after reading the document. When researching, you may find journal articles that provide a short summary at the beginning of the text. This article abstract is similar to a summary annotation. You may consult the abstract when creating your evaluative annotation, but never simply copy it as that would be considered plagiarism. 

Basic Tips on Writing and Formatting

  • Each annotation should be one paragraph, between three to six sentences long (about 150- 200 words).
  • Start with the same format as a regular Reference list.
  • All lines should be double-spaced. Do not add an extra line between the citations.
  • If your list of citations is especially long, you can organize it by topic.
  • Try to be objective, and give explanations if you state any opinions.
  • Use the third person (e.g., he, she, the author) instead of the first person (e.g., I, my, me)

Sample Evaluative Annotation

Calkins, S., & Kelley, M. (2007). Evaluating internet and scholarly sources across the disciplines: Two case studies. College Teaching, 55(4), 151-156. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1747-7379.2007.00759.x

This article discusses the problem of unintentional online plagiarism and many students’ inability to evaluate, critique, synthesize, and credit online sources properly. Two case studies from different disciplines, which were designed to foster critical evaluation of the Internet and scholarly sources, are discussed in detail. The CARS (Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness, Support) checklist for evaluating research sources is also introduced and applied in these case studies. I found this article useful because much of the content of these case studies can be easily adapted to fit assignments in different academic disciplines. One information literacy assignment in one quarter at college is not enough. If students are expected to use the Internet in a responsible way, educators must provide guidelines and relevant experience that allows students to apply those guidelines in practical ways