APA Style is a standardized writing format, established by the American Psychological Association, which you may need to follow when submitting projects or papers. If you have questions about APA formatting, look at our APA Style Guide.
RefWorks is a powerful online research management tool designed to help you easily gather, organize, store and share your research and to instantly generate citations and bibliographies. See our RefWorks research guide for information about using refworks.
Creating an Annotated Bibliography
Good news! Annotated bibliographies aren't all that bad, we promise!
An annotated bibliography is just taking your APA citations, like you've been doing, and adding a summary of that resource beneath the citation. Your instructor will likely have specific requirements on the types of resources you're allowed to use (peer-reviewed, professional, etc.). Be sure to double-check the assignment requirements before you get started, so you don't have to redo anything!
Below is a brief example of what an annotated bibliography would look like for an imaginary paper called My Little Pony: Success is magic:
Summarize each book, article, etc. based off the central claim or theme that the author(s) have made.
Review your work; be sure that your annotations are based on on the citations you have selected.
Pro Tip: using RefWorks to generate APA citations can save you a lot of time! Just be sure to double check any citations that RefWorks creates for you. They're not always 100% correct!
Annotated bibliographies consist of two parts:
The bibliographic citation: The citations (bibliographic information - title, date, author, publisher, etc.) are formatted using APA style.
The annotations: The annotations for each source are written in paragraph form, usually 3-7 sentences or 80-200 words.
Depending on your assignment your annotations will generally include the following:
Summary: What are the main arguments? What is the point of this source? What topics are covered? What is the source about?
Evaluate/Assess: Is this source credible? Who wrote it? What are their credentials? Who is the publisher? Is it a useful source? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source?
Reflect/React: State your reaction and any additional questions you have about the information in your source. How does this source fit into your research? Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic. Compare each source to other sources in terms of its usefulness and thoroughness in helping answer your research question.
Video: Annotated Bibliographies
After finalizing your resources, it's time to create your annotated bibliography! If you're still feeling nervous, the below video walks you through how to create an annotated bibliography.