Guide for Writing an Annotated Bibliography
What Is an Annotated Bibliography?
A bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, Web sites, periodicals, etc.) one has used for
researching a topic. Bibliographies are sometimes called “References” or “Works Cited”
depending on the style format you are using. A bibliography usually just includes the
bibliographic information (i.e., the author, title, publisher, etc.).
What Should be Included in the Annotated Bibliography?
An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation. Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes
a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources. Depending on your project or the
assignment, your annotations may do one or more of the following.
• Summarize: Some annotations merely summarize the source. What are the main
arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If
someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say? The length of your
annotations will determine how detailed your summary is.
• Assess: After summarizing a source, it may be helpful to evaluate it. Is it a useful source?
How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information
reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source?
• Reflect: Once you’ve summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into
your helping you better understand holistic nursing. Was this source helpful to you? How
does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research
project? Has it changed how you think about your topic?
Holistic Nursing and Self-Care or Self-Development
***The annotated bibliography must include a summary, assessment, and reflection.***
Sample APA Annotation
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.
The annotation above both summarizes and assesses the book in the citation. The first
paragraph provides a brief summary of the author’s project in the book, covering the main points
of the work. The second paragraph points out the project’s strengths and evaluates its methods
and presentation. Please note that this particular annotation does not reflect on the source’s
potential importance or usefulness for this person’s own research.