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Annotated Bibliographies: Introduction

This guide provides examples, links, and explanations to help you create an annotated bibliography. Examples are currently Chicago style and American Psychological Association (APA).

Creating an Annotated Bibliography

What's an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is an alphabetical reference list, with a brief description after each citation. Your professor might assign an annotated bibliography to teach you how to conduct research in your discipline and to widen your understanding of a topic. Some instructors ask you to create annotated bibliographies in preparation for research essays.

Please note that your professors may have slightly different requirements for your assignments, so pay attention to what is communicated throughout your course.  You may be required to identify the authors' research methods and theoretical frameworks.  Some annotated bibliographies are descriptive, while others include analysis or criticism in each annotation. 

Click any of the blue tabs to view example annotations and citations from that style guide.  If you want to cite a type of publication that isn't provided here, check the full style guide.  Links and location information are below.


Style Guides Quick Links

Any essay or article needs to give information for readers, so they can see where the author got the ideas and facts.  Different subjects require slightly different formats for presenting that information.  To make sure you're following the rules for your discipline, check a style guide.  Here are a few:

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA Manual) kept behind the Circulation counter of the John E. Robbins Library: Reserve BF76.7.A46.  Have a look at OWL Purdue online.

BU has access to the Chicago Manual of Style online here.

Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations 5th Edition is on reserve behind the library circulation desk: LB2369. T8 1987


RefWorks —Creating Bibliographies and Reference Lists for You!

RefWorks is a program that acts like a holding tank for information about articles and books you've read.  When you find an article to include in your reference list, print or email it as you would normally, but you can also send the citation information to RefWorks.

When you're done searching and sending, have RefWorks create a bibliography from the list of articles--you can do this in Word (Window or Mac), HTML, or OpenOffice.  Check this bibliography against a style guide, and insert your annotations.  More information about RefWorks is available here, by clicking the blue RefWorks tab (above), or else click to go directly to RefWorks.


Subject Guide

Rainer Schira's picture
Rainer Schira

More Sample Annotations

The University of Toronto offers an example that illustrates how to summarize a study's research methods and argument.

Cornell University Library offers these examples of both APA and MLA format descriptive bibliographies.