Intern’s Corner: Annotated Bibliography

I have had to do annotated bibliographies for the last two courses I have taken at Excelsior, therefore I thought it would be helpful to provide a blog regarding the annotated bibliography resource the Excelsior Online Writing Lab offers.

What is an annotated bibliography?

The OWL tells us that an annotated bibliography is created to help writers research projects and decide whether or not a resource will be helpful. Annotated bibliographies are organized similar to a reference page—alphabetically by the author(s), date, and publication information. Although it may take a while to find the sources you need and generate this document properly, the information provided is brief and may include the following three things:

Screenshot from annotated bibliography tutorial regarding important information that should be contained within.

Example of annotated bibliography

The OWL provides an example of an annotated bibliography. I thought I would offer a quick example of what I came up with, too, thanks to my instructor’s advice and that of the OWL.

(Screenshot of annotated bibliography example provided by OWL and Christine McLaughlin.)

Screenshot of annotated bibliography example provided by OWL and Christine McLaughlin in APA format.

(Screenshot of annotated bibliography example by Ginger Hamblin.)

Screenshot of annotated bibliography example provided by OWL and Ginger Hamblin in APA format.

Notice the similarities and differences of these acceptable documents. The similarities in formatting are that both have the source cited in proper APA format, heading and page number are in their proper place, and the page is double spaced. The differences in formatting are the paragraph indentations, line spacing after the source reference, and subheadings. Both excepts are similar in that they explain what the respective article is about, but one goes into detail as to the credibility of the source explicitly, while the other provides subtle praise and worthiness of the article their chosen author wrote.  If these two examples teach you anything, I hope it is to be sure to ask your professor what they prefer when generating an annotated bibliography.

What you need to know when generating an annotated bibliography

Check out this infographic I made from the helpful tips from the OWL.

Infographic of annotated bibliography.

Final Thoughts

The OWL provides a lot of helpful tips when generating an annotated bibliography as well as an example students can look at and compare to their own. The main things to focus on when creating an annotated bibliography are following the formatting style, providing accurate summaries of your sources, and following any specific guidelines set out by your instructor.


Ginger Hamblin is an intern for the Excelsior University Online Writing Lab. She has been a student of Excelsior University for almost two years and is pursuing her Bachelor of Science – Liberal Arts in Professional and Technical Writing. She is a writing enthusiast, painter, wife, and mother of three boys.