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Formatting & References

Annotated Bibliographies Explained

An Annotated Bibliography is a working list of references—books, journal articles, online documents, websites, etc.—that you might use for an essay, research paper, or project. Annotated bibliographies can be in APA, MLA, or Chicago Style. (The sample on this page is in Chicago). 

Note: Your bibliography may include more sources than your final paper as you may end up not using some. The reference citation of your source is written out exactly in the format that it would appear at the end of your paper - see the appropriate tab above.

Each reference citation is followed by a short summary and/or evaluation, also known as an annotation. This brief paragraph explains what is in that source as it applies to your paper. Don't just repeat what's in the book or article. Instead, consider: 

  • How does the source compare with other sources in your bibliography?
  • Is the information reliable?
  • Is this source biased or objective?
  • What is the goal of this source?
  • How does it fit your research
  • How does it help you shape your argument
  • Has it changed how you think about your topic?