Skip to Main Content

Annotated Bibliography: Home

This guide will help you craft an annotated bibliography, either as part of an assignment or as an exercise to improve your thinking or clarify your research strategy.

What is an annotated bibliography?


An annotated bibliography is a descriptive and critical listing of research resources that tells the reader not only the particular sources (books, articles, research reports, etc.) you have consulted or used, or are intending to use, but also presents your own critical thinking about those sources: a citation of the source using a standardized format, your summary of the arguments of the source and your evaluation of the effectiveness of those arguments.

Overview of this guide


Most annotated bibliographies include the following parts, and each of these parts corresponds to a page of this guide (click the links below or at the top of this page for more information on each aspect).

  • Cite: This is a necessary aspect of any annotated bibliography: providing a citation using some standardized format (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.) that tells readers exactly what source you used and how they would find it if they needed to.
  • Summarize: This is where you describe the main points of whatever you’re annotating. The key question here is: What is the author’s argument?
  • Evaluate: Now that you’ve described the argument, how well does the author make this argument? How persuasive or effective is it? In some instances, you may also wanted to provide some context for your annotations by discussing how this particular work fits in with other scholarship on a given topic. Is the author breaking new ground, building upon other arguments, retreading well-trod territory, or somewhere in between? Finally, you may wish (or be required) to include information about how this particular resource fits into your scholarly project, and/or how and why you see it as helpful for your argument.

Can I see an example?


Follow this link to see an example of an annotation of a well-known anthropology article that was written in 1990. The rest of the guide will use this annotation to demonstrate how you might put together your own annotations.

Need help?


You can contact Shain Library's Reference Desk by any of the following means:

  • In person, at the Reference Desk; check the hours here
  • Email
  • Call 860-439-2655 during scheduled Reference hours.
  • Send a text message to 860-787-5001 (also during Reference hours).
  • Via chat; go to the library's website and look for the "Chat is online" button (click it to get started).