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Annotated Bibliography Tutorial

Annotated Bibliography Tutorial

adapted from Cornell University,


What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the substance of each of the works cited, and their relevance to the project 

Annotations vs. Abstracts

Abstracts are the purely descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles or in periodical indexes. Annotations are both descriptive and critical; they reveal the author's point of view, clarity and appropriateness of expression, and authority.

The Process

  • Locate books, periodicals, and documents that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic.
  • Briefly examine and review the actual items.
  • Choose those works that provide a variety of perspectives on your topic.
  • Cite the book, article, or document using the appropriate style.
  • Write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article. Include one or more sentences that
    • evaluate the authority or background of the author,
    • comment on the intended audience,
    • compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or
    • explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic.

The following example uses the MLA format for the journal citation:

Forter, Greg. “Against Melancholia: Contemporary Mourning Theory, Fitzgeraldis The Great Gatsby, and the Politics of Unfinished Grief.” Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, vol. 14, no. 2, 2003, pp. 134–170.


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