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MLA & APA Citation Guides: Annotated Bibliography

We’ve designed this guide to explain: • What citations are • How you use them in your written assignments • Why it’s important to use them • How they are formatted

Annotated Bibliography

What is it? How do I create/write one?  

            Don’t let its imposing name fool you. In fact, if you’ve looked through and understood the previous pages of this Citation Guide, you already know how to create an annotated bibliography.

            For the sake of consistency, we’re going to use the same paper on Human Trafficking we’ve used to explain MLA formatting. You might want to refer back to it to refresh your memory.

            The Works Cited in that paper is a bibliography, a list of resources used to write a research paper. The only difference is that you add a short note or paragraph after each listed resource that gives your instructor a brief idea of how this resource will be useful to you in writing your paper.

            Actually, an annotated bibliography is compiled and given to your instructor prior to writing your paper. He/she wants to review your research to make sure you have found at least the minimum number of resources required and that those resources contain information that will support your topic or thesis. So, as briefly as possible:

  • Give a short summary of what information will be most helpful to you, and
  • Note how you think this information will support your topic/thesis

            Below is a sample annotated bibliography based on the Works Cited page of the paper on Human Trafficking used in the previous section. Scroll through it to see how it is constructed. Immediately following it is a Word document file of the annotated bibliography that you can download and edit to use as a style guide to help you construct your own.

   There are just a few guidelines for formatting your bibliography which should look familiar to you.

  • Double space everything.
  • Align your last name and page number to the right margin of the header.
  • Use a hanging indent for each citation.
  • Indent the annotation.Observe standard MLA guidelines for font, margins, etc.

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