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Create an Annotated Bibliography: Create an Annotated Bibliography

Welcome to the MC Library research skills guide on annotated bibliography. This guide is designed to help you understand what an annotated bibliography is and learn the process of creating one.

Terms in this Guide

  • Abstract: A summary or brief description of the full article or another longer work.
  • Bibliography: A list containing citations to the resources used in writing a research paper or other document.
  • Citation: A citation is a reference to a book, article, video, website, or other information source for the purpose of giving credit to the author. Citations also give more credibility to your work because your readers can find out exactly where you got the information.

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotation is a brief note on each of the sources used in your research paper.  Annotated bibliography is a list of these annotated sources. An annotated bibliography informs the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the source cited. The process of creating an annotated bibliography involves critical thinking.

Create an Annotated Bibliography in Four Steps

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Step 1: Understand the Assignment

Make sure you understand which citation style you need to use (MLA? APA?) and the level of detail your professor expects in your annotations.


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Step 2: Find Your Sources

Locate sources that are relevant to your research topic. If you're not sure where to start, look at MC Library's subject research guides, or do a simple keyword search in RaptorSearch.

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Step 3. Cite Your Sources

Create citations for each of your sources using the citation style your professor requires.

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Step 4: Annotate Your Sources

Evaluate and reflect upon each source format by asking yourself who the author is, where they got their information, and whether the information is reliable and accurate. Consider how each source compares to other sources you selected. In your annotation, explain why you want to use the source and how it complements your argument.

Know the Difference: Annotated Bibliography vs Abstract vs Review

Abstract vs Annotated Bibliography

An abstract is a descriptive summary of the source.

An annotated bibliography describes the source and critically evaluates it!

Literature Review vs Annotated Bibliography

A literature review combines more than one source under one theme and provides a general analysis.

An annotated bibliography examines each source separately and critically evaluates it for accuracy and relevance to the research topic.

Research Cycle

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Research Cycle

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Additional Help

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Learn more about creating an annotated bibliography and see examples using the links below.

More Research Skills Guides

Want to learn more? View our other research skills guides:

MC Library Research Skills Guides