Chicago Style

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of sources followed by a brief (around 150 words) paragraph explaining the quality, relevance, and accuracy of the source.  An annotated bibliography is often the first step in writing a paper.

Help with Annotated Bibliographies

How to Write an Annotation

Your professor may require specific information in your annotations.  Check your assignment instructions carefully for details.  Below are some items that may be required. 

Summarize: Some annotations just summarize the source.

  • What are the main points?
  • What is the reason for this book or article?
  • What areas are covered?

Assess: After you summarize a source, it may be helpful to evaluate it.

  • Is it this source biased or objective?
  • Is the information reliable?
  • How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography?

Reflect: Next, determine how the source fits into your research.

  • Can you use information from this source and is it helpful?
  • Does it support your argument or thesis statement?
  • How can you use this source in your research project?
  • Has it changed how you think about your topic?

Adapted from Purdue OWL