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Citation Style: APA 7th edition

Annotated bibliography

A bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, websites, periodicals, etc.) one has used for researching a topic. Bibliographies are sometimes called "references" or "works cited" depending on the style format you are using. A bibliography usually just includes the bibliographic information (i.e., the author, title, publisher, etc.).

An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation.

Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources. Depending on your project or the assignment, your annotations may include one or more of the following types of writing:

  • Summary: Some annotations merely summarize the source. What are the main arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say? The length of your annotations will determine how detailed your summary is. For more help, see our handout on paraphrasing sources.
  • Assessment: After summarizing a source, it may be helpful to evaluate it. Is it a useful source? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source? Discuss some new or surprising things you learned about the specific topic you are researching. How did the source enlighten you on any aspect related to the specific topic your are researching? For more help, see our handouts on evaluating resources.
  • Reflection: Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic?

    Your annotated bibliography may include some of these, all of these, or even others. If you're doing this for a class, you should get specific guidelines from your instructor.

Information taken from the Annotated Bibliographies created by the OWL Purdue Online Writing Lab.


The Annotated Bibliography is formatted exactly like your References page. 

Citations appear in alphabetical order.

  • Double-spaced throughout.
  • Full Citation first / then the annotation.
  • Hanging indent for first line of each citation.
  • Start the annotation on a new line, but keep it indented within the margins of the citation.
  • Use the third person – do not use “I.
  • Use the literary present tense.

Examples of how to start annotations:

  • “This article discusses…”
  • “In this article, the author supports…”:
  • “This book gives a detailed view on…,"
  •  “The author describes…"


Citation -  First Line of Citation begins at Left Margin.  Use a ½” Hanging Indent. Annotation -  Appears begins on a new line, directly under the last line of the citation.



Topic: Does the internet make jury bias more likely today than it did twenty years ago?

Thesis Statement: Pretrial publicity for high-profile crimes has become more difficult to overcome by a change of venue and sequestering of juries since the internet makes the news available to a larger portion of the population at incredibly fast rates.

Central Intelligence Agency. (2010). Country comparison: Internet users. The World Factbook Online.
The CIA Fact Book provides statistics on internet users in the United States compared to other countries. The Fact Book website is produced by the United States Central Intelligence Agency which is a trusted source of information. The internet user statistics gives a date of 2008 which was more recent than other similar statistic websites. The statistics are given in a graphical display with numbers next to each country, ranked in order of the highest user. The graphics are clear and appropriate for the statistics and give a comparison of up to 216 countries, a high sample size.

Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. (2010, March 1). Understanding the participatory news consumer. Pew Research Center: Journalism & Media
The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism uses empirical data to study the performance and methods of the news media in today’s society. This study was very recently done and shows the statistics behind new technologies and the way people use them to get involved with the news through social contacts. The Pew Research Center expresses itself as an unbiased source of information. This study in particular contains well-researched and organized data necessary in understanding the changing world of journalism.

Ruva, C., McEvoy, C., & Bryant, J. B. (2007). Effects of pretrial publicity and jury deliberation on juror bias and source memory errors. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 21, 45-67. doi: 10.1002/acp.1254
This journal article provides research into pretrial publicity when a jury deliberates a case. The authors’ credentials are listed and the journal is a well-respected scholarly journal in the psychology field. The article is timely and provides a scientific explanation rather than a social one in understanding how jurors exposure to pretrial publicity can unwittingly influence their decision.

U.S. Department of State. (2009, July). Anatomy of a jury trial. eJournal USA, 14(7), 1-45.
In this e-journal published by the US Department of State the reader is led through the roles played by all participants in a US jury trial. This journal presents an unbiased view of each person’s role as well as common legal terms used at trials. This information is important in understanding the basic tenets of American law during a trial. 

US v. Skilling, 554 F.3d 529 (5th Cir. 2009). Google Scholar.
This is a United States Supreme Court case heard in March of 2010 as to whether or not Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling received a fair trial in part based on pretrial media exposure by the jury. The case’s currency makes this topic more relevant than older cases. The brief was found from a Google Scholar Legal search and simply states the facts as read by the Supreme Court in granting Skilling an audience.

Adapted with permission from the Monroe College Library's LibGuide page, APA Style Annotated Bibliography: Definition and Examples,