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Annotated Bibliographies

Describes what an annotated bibliography is and how to make one.

In This Guide

Entry Examples

For these entry examples we have used APA citation style (7th edition). You may need to use a different style according to your assignment. Annotations look the same regardless of style used for the citation.

We have used different colors and typesets (bold, italics, and underline) in each annotation to make it easier to identify the components. To see annotations without these colors and styles (as yours will be), see Additional Examples.

Key: Citation, summary, evaluation, reflection

  • Summary annotation
  • Summary annotation with reflection
  • Evaluative annotation with summary and evaluation
  • Evaluative annotation with summary, evaluation, and reflection

Summary annotation

Jordan, T. G. (1982). Texas graveyards: A cultural legacy. University of Texas Press.

Jordan offers an in-depth look at the hows and whys of Texas graveyards. He divides vernacular burial sites into three categories: Mexican, German, and “Southern folk cemeteries.” His physical descriptions of cemetery layout, inscriptions, grave markers, and the like are very detailed.

Example excerpted from Joe Schall's Effective Technical Writing in the Information Age, Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA.

Summary with reflection

Thorp, T. (2020). Thinking Wolves. In J. Hayes, G. Kuperus, & B. Treanor (Eds.), Philosophy in the American West: A geography of thought (pp. 93–111). Routledge.

Thorp claims that philosophers and scientists, motivated by a desire to increase our care and respect for non-human animals, have begun to question all of the traditional distinctions between humans and other animals. Beginning with a political analysis of the attitudes of western ranchers toward the return of wolves to the Yellowstone region, Thorp argues that our human reasoning is essentially different from animal cognition, such as what wolves do when they hunt. He concludes that only humans have the capacity to be truly responsible for our choices, including our choices about how to care for the natural world. This source offers a foundation on which I will build my argument about the cognitive differences between animals and humans.

Example modified from Virginia Costello's Annotated Bibliography, a chapter in Writing for Inquiry and Research, Creative Commons license CC BY-NC.

Evaluative annotation with summary and evaluation

Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America. Henry Holt and Company.

In this book of nonfiction based on the journalist's experiential research, Ehrenreich attempts to ascertain whether it is currently possible for an individual to live on a minimum-wage in America. Taking jobs as a waitress, a maid in a cleaning service, and a Walmart sales employee, the author summarizes and reflects on her work, her relationships with fellow workers, and her financial struggles in each situation.

An experienced journalist, Ehrenreich is aware of the limitations of her experiment and the ethical implications of her experiential research tactics and reflects on these issues in the text. The author is forthcoming about her methods and supplements her experiences with scholarly research on her places of employment, the economy, and the rising cost of living in America. Ehrenreich’s project is timely, descriptive, and well-researched.

Example excerpted from Purdue OWL's Annotated Bibliography Samples, all rights reserved and used here under fair use.

Evaluative annotation with summary, evaluation, and reflection

Cheng, S. H., Sun, Z., Lee, I. H., Lee, C., Chen, K. C., Tsai, C. H., Yang, Y. K., & Yang, Y. C. (2017). Factors related to self-reported social anxiety symptoms among incoming university students. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 11(4), 314–321. https://doi:10.1111/eip.12247

The authors, all researchers and practitioners at National Cheng Kung University and its associated hospital, use data gathered from 5126 university students during their orientation activities to examine the circumstances of those who self-report social anxiety symptoms (SAS). Their collected data includes demographic information, lifestyle and social factors, an assessment of personality traits, and an inventory of psychological symptoms, all based on standardized tests accepted within the field. They found that 1221, or 23.7%, of those students reported an above-average level of SAS. Furthermore, upon subjecting their data to logistic regression analysis, they noted correlations between several factors and higher reported levels of SAS. Among others, those factors include being an undergraduate student, being a non-smoker, having poor social support, and displaying the symptoms of internet addiction. As with most studies that rely on self-reported information, the authors’ conclusions must be regarded cautiously, and as such this paper cannot be held as definitive. Nevertheless, it remains an important piece of research on the subject of anxiety among college students, offering a potentially valuable bit of insight into its root causes. I plan to reference these results when discussing social aspects of college student anxiety in my paper since it corroborates findings from Jackson and Herman (2023) and Miller (2019).

Example modified from David Bernardo's (University of Rhode Island Libraries) Example Annotated Bibliography Entries, a part of Annotated Bibliographies: A Primer, Creative Commons license CC BY.

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Guide Owner

This guide is maintained by Ruth Terry.

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This page by UAA/APU Consortium Library is licensed under CC BY 4.0  except as follows: 

  • "Summary annotation" - CC BY-NC-SA
  • "Summary with reflection" - CC BY-NC
  • "Evaluative annotation with summary and evaluation" - All Rights Reserved by original author.
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