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APA annotated bibliography


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An annotated bibliography is a special type of bibliography that provides additional information about the sources listed in the references list. The additional information about a source is called an annotation. An annotation can be given for all types of sources such as journals, books, or reports. The length of the annotation can extend up to 150 words.

Aim of an annotated bibliography

The aim of an annotated bibliography is to either provide details of the topics discussed in the source or assess the source. The primary goal of adding an annotation is to give the reader the significance, merit, and benefit of using a source. Never try to provide proof, take the author’s text verbatim, or discuss irrelevant points in your annotation.

Classification of annotations

Annotations are classified into two types:

  1. Descriptive
  2. Evaluative


The descriptive type gives crucial details of the source or describes the source. It gives insight into the topic covered in the source. It can also explain the purpose of the source.


An evaluative annotation analyzes a source. It explores a source and shows its relevance by examining its preciseness. An evaluative annotation tries to correlate the source with other recognized sources or studies on the same topic. It may also talk about the merits and demerits of a source.

Parts of an annotated bibliography

An annotated bibliography consists of

  1. The citation
  2. The annotation


The citation includes all components of a source. For example, the author, book title, publisher, and publication year are important components to be included in a book citation.

Fairclough, N. (2015). Language and power. Routledge.


The annotation provides the necessary fundamental details of the source. As mentioned, the details can be either descriptive or evaluative.

Descriptive annotation

It gives a brief description of all relevant information of the source. The below example is taken from Fairclough (2015). Complete information of the source is given below the annotation.

The book focuses on how language functions in maintaining and changing power relations in modern society, the ways of analyzing language which can reveal these processes, and how people can become more conscious of them, as well as more able to resist and change them. Norman Fairclough includes a substantial new introduction and brings the discussion up to date. He shows both the importance of the book in the development of critical discourse analysis over the past three decades and how language and power relations have changed due to major socioeconomic changes.

Evaluative annotation

An evaluative annotation mirrors the views of the author, highlights the benefits of the work, and also provides a detailed evaluation of the source.

This book of Fairclough is a preamble to the study of discourse analysis. The book shows its steady importance and contribution to language and power. The book clearly illustrates the relationship between language and power with sufficient evidence. The book is important for students pursuing discourse analysis and other related fields.

Rules for creating annotated bibliographies

  • The annotation is added after the reference-list entry of a source.
  • The annotation extends up to 150 words.
  • Both phrases and full sentences are permitted in the annotation.
  • Write the annotation in a single paragraph. However, if you want to include multiple paragraphs, indent the second and subsequent paragraphs. However, the paragraphs should not have any extra line spaces in between.

Writing annotated bibliographies

To write an annotated bibliography in APA, follow the below guidelines:

  • The annotation should be short and concise.
  • Use various links such as “while,” “but,” and “in addition” to connect sentences. This will enhance the readability of your content.
  • Do not use words that serve no purpose in your sentences.
  • Avoid very long sentences.
  • Put forth your views directly.
  • Avoid contractions such as “won’t” and ‘isn’t” in the annotation.

Formatting annotated bibliographies

To format an annotated bibliography in APA, follow the below recommendations:

  • Begin your annotated bibliography on a new page after the end of the body text.
  • The annotated bibliography appears before the figures, tables, and appendices.
  • Set the left, right, top, and bottom margins at 1 inch.
  • The lines are double-spaced.
  • The title should be “Annotated Bibliography.” Format the heading in bold.
  • Center align the title to the page.
  • All references are aligned left in the annotated bibliography. For entries running over more than a line, provide 0.5 inches indent to the second and subsequent lines from the left margin.
  • Entries are arranged according to the alphabetical arrangement of the author’s surnames.
  • Each annotation is added below its corresponding reference entry. Annotations are indented 0.5 inches from the left margin.

Arranging annotated bibliographies

There is no need to look at annotations for arranging them. Arrange the reference entries alphabetically per the author’s surname and place the annotation below the corresponding entry.

For references without authors, arrange the entries by their title.

Example annotated bibliography

The below example shows an annotated bibliography:

Annotated Bibliography

Lim, L. (2014). Ideology, rationality and reproduction in education: A critical discourse analysis. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 35(1), 61–76. https://doi:10.1080/01596306.2012.739467

Lim focuses on problems of power and perception dominant in academic discourses of logic to study a discourse analysis of the goals of the most important subjects in teaching thinking. He proves that social and group responsibilities are reproduced as thinking that is treasured by all in society. Through his research, Lim asserts that such courses retain our understanding of thinking and reasoning. It must enhance the social reproduction of a specific proportion of the normal group of people.

Key takeaways

  • An annotated bibliography is a special type of bibliography that provides additional information about the sources listed in the references list.
  • The aim of an annotated bibliography is to either provide details of the topics discussed in the source or assess the source.
  • The two types of annotations are descriptive and evaluative.
  • The heading should be “Annotated Bibliography.”
  • Annotation can be written up to 150 words.

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