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Annotated Bibliographies: Write Your Annotated Bibliography

What does an Annotated Bibliography look like?

An annotated bibliography entry consists of two parts, the citation and the summary or evaluation of the resource.  Here is a sample from the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC)

Davidson, Hilda Ellis. Roles of the Northern Goddess. London: Routledge, 1998.

1 Hilda Davidson's book provides a thorough examination of the major roles filled by the numerous pagan goddesses of Northern Europe in everyday life. 2 Through the understanding of these goddesses the author explains religion in early European society. 3 Davidson explains their roles in hunting, agriculture, domestic arts like weaving, the household, and death. The author discusses relevant archaeological evidence, patterns of symbol and ritual, and previous research. 4 This book provides in-depth information on the early religious practices of Northern Europeans. 

Additional examples:

These sample annotated bibliographies from the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL), provide examples in the most common citation formats.

Citation Format

The bibliography portion of the annotated bibliography usually follows one of the standard citation formats: APA, MLA, Chicago, CSE, or etc. Citation format information is available from the library's Citing Sources web page.

For more information or to make an appointment, visit the TLC.

Structure of an Annotated Bibliography

Annotated bibliography requirements vary at UW Tacoma. You may use the information below as a guideline, but always check with your instructor first. 

  • Length - Generally, annotations constitute one paragraph and are approximately 100 -150 words long, with a goal of concise and explicative annotations, however the length will vary based upon your instructors requirements.
  • Person - The third person is the standard, though first person may be appropriate for certain types of annotated bibliographies.
  • Format -
    • Sentences - Whole sentences are preferable.
    • Paragraphs - Annotations should be at least one paragraph long, *length will vary by instructor.*. The paragraph(s) should contain a statement of the work's major thesis, from which the rest of the sentences can develop.


Writing an Annotated Bibliography (2015). Skidmore College: Lucy Scribner Library. Retrieved from

Elements of an Annotation

Information found in an annotation may include the:

Qualifications of author(s)

  • example: "Based on 20 years of study, William A. Smith, Professor of English at XYZ University..."


  • example: "...sets out to place John Turner in eighteenth century England and show the development of his philosophy in relation to contemporary social mores"

Audience and level of reading difficulty

  • example: "Smith addresses himself to the scholar, albeit the concluding chapters on capital punishment will be clear to any informed layman"

Bias or standpoint of author

  • "Turner gears his study more to the romantic aspects of the age than the scientific and rational developments"

Relationship to other works in the field

  • example: "Here Turner departs drastically from A. F. Johnson (Two will not, New York, Riposte Press, 1964) who not only has developed the rational themes of the eighteenth century but is convinced the romantic elements at best are only a skein through the major prose and poetry";

Findings, results, and conclusions (if available)

Format/special features

  • example: (e.g., bibliography, glossary, index, survey instruments, testing devices, etc.).


Writing an Annotated Bibliography (2015). Skidmore College: Lucy Scribner Library. Retrieved from