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How to do Research for a College Paper

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a way of evaluating sources.

  • They show that you have read a source and that you understand the content.
  • They also show the reader how the sources are useful to the research.

A basic annotation contains:

  • a citation in the correct format (ex. MLA or APA).
  • a comment about the author and their authority on the topic. 
  • an explanation of the main concepts of the source and why it is relevant to your research.


Here are the steps to follow:
A: Talk about the author. (1 sentence)
Is this a professor? Maybe this is a professional in the field? Or is this person a hobbyist? Tell the audience about the author in the first part of the annotation.
B: Explain what the article is about. (1-3 sentences)
Tell the audience what is in the article. This is the most difficult part of the annotation because it requires you to be very succinct. Don’t rewrite the article; just write the base facts and important notes about the article here.
C: Explain how this article illuminates your bibliography topic. (1-2 sentences)
What about this article makes it relevant to your topic? Why did you select it? What pertinent bit of information makes this article stand out among the others?
D: Compare or contrast this work with another you have cited. (1-2 sentences)
How does this specific article relate to another article in your annotated bibliography? Do they agree or not? Why not? What makes them unique?
From a handout by Aaron Wimer

Annotated Bibliographies

View the links below to learn more about how to create an annotated bibliography and see examples.