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Research Guides

Integrated Social Sciences Program: Annotated Bibliography

Guide for the online Integrated Social Sciences program

What is an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a compilation of notes about a source alongside the source's bibliographic information. It differs from a Bibliography, References or Works Cites list that only provides only bibliographic information without any commentary. The annotation is a "note" that explains comments on, or gives your reader a sense of the important takeaways from the source, as well as your learning and use of that source. 

An annotated bibliography has two parts:

1. The citations. For the ISS program, these will either be in MLA or APA format.

2. The annotations. Each citation is followed by a summary/evaluation of each source citation.


Citations are a way of giving credit when material in your work came from another source. It also gives your readers the information necessary to find that source again-- an important roadmap to your research process. Whenever you use sources such as books, journals, media, or websites in your research, you must give credit to the original creator by citing the source. 

‚ÄčDifferent subject disciplines call for citation information to be written in specific orders with varying capitalization and punctuation. There are many different styles and formats. In the ISS program, you will be expected to use MLA Style in core courses. Thematic courses may expect you to use APA Style. This is the basic style for each. Use the menu on the left or click on each style below for a more comprehensive look.

MLA Style:

Joseph, Ralina L. Transcending Blackness: From the New Millenium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial. Durham, M.C.: Duke UP, 2013. Web.

APA Style:

Joseph, R. (2013). Transcending blackness: From the new millenium mulatta to the exceptional multiracial. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.

*See the UW Libraries Citation Styles Guide for more example citations


Annotations for each citation are written in paragraph form and can vary in length. A simple summary may only be several sentences, and an extensive analysis may be several paragraphs. Generally, the annotations have two parts:


  • What is the overall point of the work?
  • What are the main arguments, and what themes are covered? 
  • How are the arguments presented?

Critical Analysis:

  • How can the source be used, and how does it fit into what you are learning about social science theory?
  • Compare sources with one another, what is unique about each source?
  • How has this source helped to develop your learning and analysis?
  • Did you find the source useful? Why or why not?

What does an annotation look like?

[Citation] Booker, Susan M. "Dioxin in Vietnam: Fighting a Legacy of War."  Environmental Health Perspectives 109.3 (2001): 116. ProQuest. Web. 29 Ap. 2009. 


[Annotation] Booker reports on the launch of a joint research program on the human and environmental health effects from spraying Agent Orange and other herbicides during the Vietnam War. The extent of Agent Organge exposure among the Vietnamese, identification of highly contaminated areas and monitoring migration of dioxin are assessed. The author asserts the government is not doing enough to help the Vietnamese people who still suffer from Agent Orange. This is written for people with little prior knowledge of this...

Example annotation from Lloyd Sealy Library

Tools to Automatically Generate Citations