Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Jessie Ball duPont Library

Annotated Bibliographies

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a collection of sources that includes a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph after each citation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the source cited.

Why Do I Need to Write an Annotated Bibliography?

Warning: Finding information is easier than using information.

Make the move from the research process to the writing process by assembling and organizing your research in an annotated bibliography.

A bibliography lists the sources that you have found with information relevant to your research question. Writing a short critique or analysis of each of those resources explains how you plan to use the information and why you chose it.

The annotation shows that you have read and understood the information you are using--a necessary step in being able to use the information in your writing.

Tips to Remember

Level of Detail
Some annotated bibliographies will call for a cursory description in preparation for a research project, while others will require more detailed analysis. Ask your professor about the level of detail needed in the annotations.

Bibliographies are traditionally arranged by Author and then Title or Year, and this arrangement can be used for annotated bibliographies as well. However, it may make more sense to organize an annotated bibliography thematically or chronologically. Use your own judgment, or ask your professor for guidance.

Formatting Citations
When you store your citations and notes in a 
citation manager, it takes care of the formatting, allowing you to concentrate on research and analysis.

You can also organize your bibliography in different ways, such as by author, title, or even chronologically.  This can be especially useful if you are following an artist's career or the history of research on a topic. 

You can import records from most of our databases in just a few clicks, and export to Word just as easily. Once you start using a citation manager, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Other Helpful Skills

Polish some of the research skills that will be necessary for research, writing, and presentation across multiple academic disciplines.