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Annotated Bibliography

An Annotated Bibliography is an alphabetical list of information sources (e.g. journal articles or book chapters), which includes concise descriptions, analysis, and evaluations of each source, formatted like a bibliography or reference list.

Purpose of an Annotated Bibliography

Creating an Annotated Bibliography will allow you to:

  • Learn about a particular topic through critically reviewing the literature
  • Reflect and review the research that has already been undertaken about your topic of choice 
  • Discover the amount of relevant, quality, and reliable material there is available
  • Explore and organise sources for further research
  • Improve your research and critical thinking skills

Questions to Consider when choosing a source

Choosing which sources to include in your Annotated Bibliography is important and when choosing you should consider the following questions:

  • What is my research topic?
  • Does this source relate to my research topic?
  • What kind of material am I looking at and why? Am I looking for journal articles, reports, policies, or primary historical data?
  • Am I being thoughtful in my selection sources?
  • What is the essential or key text on my topic? Am I finding them?
  • Are there sources that are valuable or often referred to in my research? Have I included them?

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

An Annotated Bibliography is made up of two (2) parts:

  1. The bibliographical details of a source, also known as a citation
  2. The explanatory paragraph or annotation

Create the Citation

The citation should be constructed the same as a reference list in APA 7th edition format.

For more in-depth instructions on creating a citation refer to the Referencing and Plagiarism assessment support guide.

Creating an Annotation

There are six (6) components that go into creating an Annotation:

  1. A summary of the content.​

  2. The scope and subject.​

  3. Brief analysis of the source.​

  4. The usefulness of the source.​

  5. Its limitations.​

  6. A reflection on its relevance.

All of these components should be addressed in the Annotation.

Putting it All Together

Once you have answered all of the concepts above, you should condense them into a single paragraph of between 150-200 words. When writing your annotation, you should:

  • Use complete sentences.
  • Be concise.
  • Try to use transition words (e.g. furthermore, moreover, however, therefore …)

Look at how this example uses the six component listed above to create an annotated bibliography entry. Each component is numbered in the example.

Horton, J. (2013). Mental Landscapes: Bazin, Deleuze, and Neorealism (Then and Now). Cinema Journal, 52(2), 23-45.​
(1) In this article, Horton evaluates the idea of "neo-neo-realism" as a growing focus in contemporary American cinema. (2) Drawing from the works of Andre Bazin and Gilles Deleuze, specifically their writings on neorealism, Horton explores this revitalised form of neorealism by examining David Gordon Green's film George Washington (2000). (3) Expanding Bazin's concepts with Deleuze's philosophy, the author notes that the dualism of reality and dreamlike state that the film navigates is congruent with Bazin and Deleuze's respective conceptualisations of neorealistic cinema as supernatural and as occupying a liminal space. (4) This article is useful to my research as it is both an examination of neorealistic qualities in contemporary American independent cinema and an exploration of the philosophy most relevant to neorealism. (5) Unfortunately, the scope of Horton's essay is limited to only the one film. (6) Despite this, the article's philosophical examinations and its primary focus on contemporary American independent cinema makes it relevant to the basis of my research.

Checklist for an Annotated Bibliography

Have I:

⇒ Used APA 7th Edition referencing format?

⇒ Are the sources are listed alphabetically?

⇒ Each entry is composed of the full reference of the source followed by the annotation

⇒ Given a brief overview of the main ideas of the source, using features such as the structure, the purpose or the research methodology of the text as discussion points?

⇒ Evaluated the source for its objectivity and reliability?

⇒ Commented on whether the source was useful to my research?

⇒ Ensured my spelling, grammar and punctuation are correct and my writing is set out in a logical format

⇒ Proof read all your work?