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Annotated Bibliography: Tips for Writing: Home

A guide to annotated bibliographies designed and created by Clark Librarians


Learn what an annotated bibliography is and get some tips on writing your own. The act of composing an annotation is an aid to evaluating information sources for usefulness, appropriateness and credibility.

Note for Dental Hygiene students: Please refer to the following page for the Dental Hygiene department's guide to annotated bibliographies.

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of books, articles and other sources used in your research. Each entry in an annotated bibliography has two parts:

  1. The citation provides the author, title, date and other descriptive details about the source. Your instructor will let you know which style manual (MLA, APA, etc.) to use for formatting citations.
  2. The annotation is a paragraph that describes and evaluates the content of the source.

Try It Yourself

Your instructor may have specific instructions for your annotation, but here's a 1-2-3 step system for writing an annotation:

  1. Fill in the blank: This source (article/book/website) is about ___________. Say it out loud as if you're trying to explain it to someone, then write in out in no more than four sentences.
  2. The author wrote this source for ________. Write one sentence describing the intended audience.
  3. I am confident this is a credible source because  __________________________. Write one or two sentences describing at least two criteria you used the evaluate this source. See link below on evaluating information.

Tell Us

Do you feel confident in your ability to write annotations?
Yes, I am ready to write annotations on my own.: 152 votes (39.9%)
I think so. I'm ready to give it a try.: 94 votes (24.67%)
No, I think I need more help learning how to write annotations.: 135 votes (35.43%)
Total Votes: 381

Elements of the Annotation

Check with your instructor to determine what they want to be included in annotations. In general, an annotation should inform the reader of the quality and relevance of the source. Annotations are detailed but succinct, typically about 150 words, and include:

  • A brief summary (2-4 sentences) of the article, including the author’s name and what you think is the author’s primary point or thought.
  • A description of the intended audience.
  • An evaluation of the source’s usefulness, reliability, strengths and weaknesses and its value for your research.

Sample entry from an annotated bibliography

For more help and ideas, ask a librarian!



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