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APA 7th Edition Style Guide

Help with using the APA 7th edition

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources, each of which is followed by a brief note or “annotation.”

These annotations do one or more of the following:

  • describe the content and focus of the book or article
  • suggest the source’s usefulness to your research
  • evaluate its method, conclusions, or reliability
  • record your reactions to the source.

The process of writing an annotated bibliography provides a structured process to learn about a research topic. It causes you to read the available research (also referred to as "the literature") more closely as you develop a better understanding of the topic, related issues, and current trends. 

Source: The University of Wisconsin-Madison: The Writing Center

Writing a strong annotation

The hardest part of this assignment is writing the annotation, but knowing what it entails can make this task less daunting.

While not all of these are necessary, an annotation could/will:

  • Summarize the central theme and scope of the document
  • Evaluates the authority, credibility, and/or background of the author(s)
  • Comments on the intended audience (who was meant to read the document)
  • Assesses the source’s strengths and weaknesses (Interesting? Helpful? Strong/weak argument? Strong/weak evidence?)
  • Compares or contrast this work with others you have cited
  • Critiques the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the source
  • Evaluates the methods, conclusions/findings, and reliability of the source
  • Shares how the source reinforces or contradicts your own argument
  • Records your reactions to the reading
  • States how the source will be used in your paper

Source: UNT Dallas Learning Commons: Annotated Bibliography

Formatting rules

General Formatting Rules:

  • Format and order references in alphabetical order just as you would a reference list
  • Each annotation should be a new paragraph below its reference entry
  • Indent the entire annotation 0.5 inch from the left margins just as you would a block quotation
  • If the annotation spans multiple paragraphs, indent the first line of the second and any subsequent paragraphs an addition 0.5 inch the same as you would a block quotation with multiple paragraphs

Source: Section 9.51 Annotated Bibliographies in the APA 7th Edition Publication Manual

Sample annotated bibliography