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Annotated Bibliographies

How to compile an annotated bibliography. Questions? Email

How to write an annotation

IMPORTANT: Check the guidelines in your assignment first.  Always follow your professor's instructions!

Essential Content* - In general, an annotation should do three things:

  1. Summarize: What does the source tell you about your topic? What is its main point or argument?
  2. Evaluate: How credible, authoritative, and up-to-date is this source? Do you notice any biases in the source?
  3. Connect/Reflect: How does this source connect to your topic? How will you use this source in your paper/project?

Additional Content* - Some assignments require additional elements: 

  1. Compare: How does this source compare to the other sources in your bibliography? Does it support/agree with them? Does it challenge or contradict them? Does it add new information?
  2. Critique/Analyze: What are the strengths and weaknesses of this source's argument, analysis, research method, or approach?
  3. Quote: For many humanities subjects, you'll have to use quotes in your essays. You could include a particularly important quote in your annotation.

*Always check the instructions from your professor! The instructions from your professor override any guidance offered here.

The "Essential Content" section above is adapted from "Annotated Bibliographies." The Purdue OWL, Purdue U Writing Lab. Accessed 19 Sep. 2019.

How long is an annotation?

The short answer: it depends!

One or two paragraphs (think 250-500 words) would be typical. But length will vary based on:

  • the requirements of your assigment
  • the length of the source you're annotating
  • the source's relevance to your research.

Useful websites for writing and editing

Use these websites to help you with grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. Some of these will automatically check your writing and suggest edits for you!