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Writing an annotated bibliography

Survival Guide


Make sure the bibliographic information is in the referencing style recommended by your


Below is an example of an annotated
bibliography entry by Shannon Kennedy-Clark, Tracey-Lee Downey and Pam Mort © 2006 The Learning Centre, The University of New South Wales.

Why write an annotated bibliography?

You may have to write a stand-alone annotated bibliography on a particular topic as part of an assessment for a unit.

Alternatively, you may decide to compile one as part of your Masters or PhD

research process. It is a useful way to keep track of what you have read and what is

significant for your research about a

particular text.

What is an annotated bibliography?

A standard annotated bibliography has two parts

  • the bibliographic information

  • the annotations

The bibliographic information is an

alphabetical list, by author, date, publisher, volume, page number etc. of books,

journals, etc. that you have read as part of your assignment.

The annotations follow each bibliographic entry and are summaries, evaluations of, and reflections on, the main points of the book, chapter, article, etc. you have read.

Points to remember

  • Only mention significant details.

  • Don’t use in-text citations or footnotes.

  • Write in sentences but be concise.

  • Use academic vocabulary.

Choose appropriate texts

When choosing texts to annotate, ask

  • is this text relevant to my research?

  • is this a key text on my topic?

  • does this text cover new ground? ground?

Like this Survival Guide? Why not check out...

Survival Guides: Avoiding plagiarism, Avoiding academic misconduct, Quoting,

Paraphrasing, Writing a research proposal.
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How long is an annotated bibliography?

They vary from a few sentences to a few paragraphs depending on the assignment

requirements or your preference if you are doing it for your own purposes. 100-200 words is a common length.
What information do I include in the bibliography section?

All the information you would include in an end-of–essay/thesis reference list. Make sure you use the citation style accurately.

What information do I include in the annotation section?

Depending on your purpose, consider including the following information.


  • The author’s intention.

  • The scope of the text.

  • The main argument.

  • The intended audience.

  • The research methods.


  • An assessment of the strengths, weaknesses, limitations of the text.

  • An assessment of the theoretical concepts used.

  • An assessment of the strength of the evidence.

  • A comment on any biases you have observed.

  • An assessment of the credibility of the authors/text.

  • A comment on the readability of the text.


  • Your reaction to and/or perspective on the text.

  • A comment on the suitability of the text for your research purposes.

Assignments 3

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