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Annotated Bibliographies

This guide provides examples, links, and explanations to help you create an annotated bibliography.

American Sociological Association (ASA) Annotations

Creating an annotated bibliography in ASA style

A great summary is here, from Purdue University's writing centre.  A paper copy of The Publication Manual of the American Sociological Association is kept behind the Circulation counter of the John E. Robbins Library.  


General guidelines

Some annotations are merely descriptive, summarizing the authors' qualifications, research methods, and arguments.  Your professor might also ask you to identify the authors' theoretical frameworks.

Many annotations evaluate the quality of scholarship in a book or article.  You might want to consider the logic of authors' arguments, and the quality of their evidence.  Your findings can be positive, negative, or mixed.

Your professor might also want you to explain why the source is relevant to your assignment.  Some instructors require you to identify the authors' theoretical models as well.


Sample Page: ASA-formatted annotated bibliography



Battle, Ken. 2007. “Child poverty: The evolution and impact of child benefits.” Pp. 21-44 in A Question of Commitment: Children's Rights in Canada, edited by K. Covell and R. B. Howe. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

           Ken Battle draws on his research as an extensively-published policy analyst, and a close study of some government documents, to explain child benefits in Canada.  He outlines some fundamental assumptions supporting the belief that all society members should contribute to the upbringing of children.  His comparison of Canadian child poverty rates to those in other countries provides a useful wake-up to anyone assuming Canadian society is doing a good job of protecting children from want.  He pays particular attention to the National Child Benefit (NCB), arguing that it did not deserve the criticism it received from politicians and journalists.  He outlines the NCB’s development, costs, and benefits, including its dollar contribution to a typical recipient’s income.  He laments that the Conservative government scaled back the program in favour of the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB), and clearly explains why it is inferior.  However, Battle relies too heavily on his own work; he is the sole or primary author of almost half the sources in his bibliography.  He could make this work stronger by drawing from the perspectives of others' analyses.  However, Battle does offer a valuable source for this essay, because the chapter provides a concise overview of government-funded assistance currently available to parents. This offers context for analyzing the scope and financial reality of child poverty in Canada.

Kerr, Don and Roderic Beaujot. 2003. “Child Poverty and Family Structure in Canada, 1981-1997.” Journal of Comparative Family Studies 34(3):321-335.

          Sociology professors Kerr and Beaujot analyze the demographics of impoverished families.  Drawing on data from Canada’s annual Survey of Consumer Finances, the authors consider whether each family had one or two parents, the age of single parents, and the number of children in each household.  They analyze child poverty rates in light of both these demographic factors and larger economic issues.  Kerr and Beaujot use this data to argue that


Rules! rules! rules!

The Publication Manual of the American Sociological Association (1997) states the following formatting rules, but check your course outline in case your professor has other requirements!

  • All text should be double-spaced.
  • Reference list entries must have a hanging indent (to do this in Microsoft Word 2003, click Format, then Paragraph, then Special, and choose Hanging).
  • There should be 1 1/4 inch margins on each page.
  • Use 12 point Times Roman font, or a similar serif font.
  • Start counting pages on the first page of text, but numbers should only appear from the second page onward (as 2, etc.). 
  • Each paragraph should be indented.
  • The reference list is alphabetical by authors' last names.
  • When a work has more than one author, the name of the first author is inverted (Lastname, Firstname).  The names of additional authors are not inverted.