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Annotated Bibliography Structure


A successful annotated bibliography consists of two sections, each comprising important aspects which give your source relevance and support for your research.

Section 1: the citation

The correct citation is important for your reader in order for them to access and refer to your descriptions, if need be.  While many search engines and databases provide system-generated citations for a number of different writing styles, they are not always correct.  If you choose to copy a system-generated citation it is important to know the format for your paper, and to review every citation you copy for accuracy.

Section 2: the annotation

For an effective and thorough annotated bibliography section 2 should consist of 3 parts:

  • Part A: The importance of the author
  • Part B: The importance of the article
  • Part C: The importance of the article to your study

Part A: (0.5-1 sentence)

Part A need not be more than one sentence, and it is sufficient to simply introduce your annotation with a brief background of the author leading into Part B.  A quick internet search may find what professional standing they have and where they are based.  The author’s title, place of employment and educational background are often enough to give the reader a good idea of the importance of the author in their field of study.

Part B: (2-3 sentences)

The next few sentences are crucial to tying the text into your study.  Part B is not a summary, but a descriptive interpretation of the author’s work.  Highlight the important aspects of the author’s argument.  Your description should give the reader an idea of what they can find in the article if they choose to look more into it.  These brief overviews need only be 2 or 3 sentences at the most, so it is important to be clear and concise.

Part C: (1 sentence)

The end of your annotation helps the reader understand why you have chosen to include this work in your study.  Part C is not a “Here is why I chose this article” sentence, but rather a continuation of Part B that connects the author’s points with your argument or specific focus of study.  This one, final sentence should tie the author’s impact on the discussion with your topic, in terms that relate to the reader the importance of the text to your study using a scholarly voice. 

Annotated Bibliography Resources

Website Resources


Owl Purdue Online Writing Lab

Annotated Bibliography Samples

John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300