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Annotated bibliography: how to create one: Parts of an Annotation

What is an annotated bibliography? And how do I create one? This guide will help answer these questions. It also provides sample APA, MLA, and Chicago annotated bibliographies.

Parts of a Sample Annotation

What do I need to include in my annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography might be an overview of a topic, or it might be something you write in preparation for a specific research essay.  Many annotated bibliographies include:

  • A citation to the article, chapter, or other work

  • Qualifications of the author or authors

  • Mention of the methods the authors used

  • A summary of the argument and/or findings

  • Evaluation of the work, for example the logic of the arguments or value of the evidence

  • How this work supports your own research

The sample below is in APA.  The citation changes in Chicago style, but all other parts of the annotation are the same.  Note that both APA and Chicago require text to be double-spaced, but your instructor might provide other instructions. 

The annotation is colour coded to match the parts identified above.

 

Sample (See above for the explanation of colour-coding)

Battle, K. (2007). Child poverty: The evolution and impact of child benefits. In Covell, K., & Howe, R. B. (Eds), A question of commitment: Children's rights in Canada (pp. 21-44). Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Press. Laurier University

           Ken Battle draws on a close study of government documents, as well as his own research as an extensively-published policy analyst, to explain Canadian child benefit programs.  He outlines some fundamental assumptions supporting the belief that all society members should contribute to the upbringing of children.  His comparison of child poverty rates in a number of countries is a useful wake-up to anyone assuming Canadian society is doing a good job of protecting children.  Battle pays particular attention to the National Child Benefit (NCB), arguing that it did not deserve to be criticized by politicians and journalists.  He outlines the NCB’s development, costs, and benefits, and laments that the Conservative government scaled it back in favour of the inferior Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB).  However, he relies too heavily on his own work; he is the sole or primary author of almost half the sources in his bibliography.  He could make this work stronger by drawing from others' perspectives and analyses.  However, Battle does offer a valuable source for this essay, because the chapter provides a concise overview of government-funded assistance currently available to parents.  This offers context for analyzing the scope and financial reality of child poverty in Canada. 

More Sample Annotations

The University of Toronto offers an example that illustrates how to summarize a study's research methods and argument.

The Memorial University of Newfoundland presents these examples of both descriptive and critical annotations.

Cornell University Library offers these examples of both APA and MLA format descriptive bibliographies.