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Annotated Bibliographies

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  • Aim for 100-200 words
  • Use academic language and writing style.
  • Read your assignment carefully for annotation requirements.
  • Most assignments require a combination of summary and critique.

For the summary:

  • State the facts without opinions or commentary
  • Include the thesis/hypothesis, main arguments, the evidence presented, and the conclusions
  • Include the methods used (if a research study)
  • list the author’s credentials or expertise

For the critique:

  • How effective is the argument or evidence provided?
  • (For research studies) Are the methods reliable and valid?
  • Do you agree with the author’s conclusions?
  • How does this item compare to your other sources, or trends in the field?
  • Will you use this article in your paper or project (if applicable)?

Your instructor will likely specify how many, how old (5 years?), and what types of sources they require or allow for your assignment.

  • Usually scholarly books or journal articles
  • Sometimes videos, websites, or government sources
  • Credible, meaning they have a known author or creator or are from a reputable organization or government office.
  • Graduate students should use scholarly primary and secondary sources like edited book chapters, literature reviews, and research studies (no textbooks or encyclopedias).

Include at least one source that covers each of these:

  • Background information (the history of your topic)
  • Evidence (like research studies or literature reviews)
  • Arguments & Conclusions (what do most scholars think? Does anyone disagree?)
  • Methods ( best ways to study your topic)

Our Citation Resources Guide can help with citations and citation tools.


Our Organization Guide has tips and tools for saving sources and searches.


We recommend these guides for grad students: