Annotated Bibliography: Overview

About this Guide

This guide explains the purpose and process of writing annotated bibliographies, provides information on what constitutes an annotation and offers practical suggestions on how to write an annotation. 

The content of the guide was developed using the following resources:

American Psychological Association (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association: The official guide to APA style (7th ed.). American Psychological Association.

King, J. (2010). How to write an annotated bibliography. Access24(4), 34-37. 

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University 

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An Annotated Bibliography is an ordered list of sources on a particular topic. Sources may include books, journal articles, credible online documents and web pages. The usual format of an Annotated Bibliography is a citation presented in a specific referencing style followed by a concise annotation with information on the content, topic relevance, and quality of the cited source.



An annotated bibliography includes two main sections:

a reference

The reference will present the details of the source in accordance with the referencing style


an annotation 

The annotation section contains a short description, an evaluation of each source, and whether the information from that particular source is relevant to the particular topic. It should inform the reader of the source's relevance, accuracy, and quality.

Annotation often goes beyond summary and  should include as many of the following criteria as possible:

  • explanation of the main points and/or purpose of the source,
  • description of the source format and content,
  • explanation of the theoretical basis and currency of the author's argument,
  • verification of the author's academic credentials,
  • identify limitations or biases in the source,
  • comments on the value, effectiveness, and usefulness of the source on the topic being researched and your own research project.



Acknowledgement of Country

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Ancestors, Elders and families of the Kulin Nation (Melbourne campuses), the Eora Nation (Sydney campus) and the Yulara/Yugarapul and Turrbal Nation (Brisbane campus) who are the traditional owners of University land. As we share our own knowledge practices within the University, may we pay respect to the deep knowledge embedded within the Aboriginal community and recognise their ownership of Country.

We acknowledge that the land on which we meet, learn, and share knowledge is a place of age-old ceremonies of celebration, initiation and renewal, and that the Traditional Owners living culture and practices have a unique role in the life of this region. Learn more from our Moondani Balluk Indigenous Academic Unit.


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