Skip to Main Content

Annotated Bibliography: How to

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is similar to a normal Reference List, except it also includes a brief summary about each source underneath. (Each annotation is around 150 words - but check your task first).

What is included in an annotation?

Each annotation should be a concise summary of each source, and can include comments about: 

  • The central theme and scope of the source (i.e. describe the source) 
  • Authority of the source 
  • The reliability of the source 
  • Any bias or objectivity issues with the source 
  • Is it a recent, up-to-date source 
  • The relevance/usefulness of the source 
  • How any data or information was collected 
  • A reflection on how important this source is for your research 

How do we write an Annotated Bibliography?

  1. Cite your sources like you would for a normal Reference List 
  2. Critically examine each source, and make notes using the above bullet points as a guide
  3.  Write a brief and concise annotation. Make sure you write in 3rd person and use academic language. 
  4. Check that each annotation follows this general format: 
    • Summary of description of the source 
    • Critique or evaluation of the source 
    • Reflection or closing remarks 
  5. Add the annotation underneath the relevant source in the Reference List. 

Example Annotated Bibliography 

Bawa, A. S., & Anilakumar, K. R. (2013). Genetically modified foods: safety, risks and public concerns—a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology50(6), 1035–1046.

(Introduction/summary) --> This article is a review of various studies analzying the safety and health risks associated with genetically modified (GM) foods. (Authority) --> The authors currently work in a food research laboratory and have written numerous journal articles, although not many on GM foods. (Reliability) --> The authors draw on a variety of research from around the world and across various GM food types to support their analyses. (Bias) --> The article refrains from providing a balanced view of GM foods, and instead emphasizes the risks and negative perceptions associated with it. (Relevance) --> The article therefore provides valuable insights into the risks associated with GM foods and the implications this may have in society.  (Summary) --> However, due to the bias nature of the article, other sources will need to be consulted to provide a balanced argument for this research assignment.