Annotated Bibliography Format
The format of an annotated bibliography varies based on the course and the citation style. Be sure you consult with your instructor or adviser on what specific rules or style they want you to use.
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There are different types of writing styles that can be used for an annotated bibliography:
- Telegraphic: phrases, non-sentences
- Complete sentences: use complete sentences
- Paragraph: full, coherent paragraph
Source: UNC Chapel Hill’s Writing Center
The citation style of the bibliography is set by your instructor or adviser. See this advice from UNC Chapel Hill’s Writing Center about the creating annotated bibliographies through the citation styles of American Psychological Association (APA) and Modern Language Association (MLA). Remember that there are many other citation styles, so be sure to consult the UNCG Libraries citation style guide if you are not using APA or MLA.
APA: This citation style is used most frequently in the social sciences, health sciences, and in some natural sciences.
- Annotated bibliographies for APA format do not usually require a special title. Use the usual “References” designation or follow the assignment instructions.
- References in an annotated bibliography should be in alphabetical order, just as they would be for a typical bibliography.
- APA uses a hanging indent: use a hanging indent for your bibliographic information. The annotation is indented 0.5 inches from the left margin, or the same space as the second and subsequent lines of the citation. If one annotation contains multiple paragraphs, the second paragraph should be indented an additional 0.5 inches. In Google Docs, you can highlight your citation and then navigate to the format menu → Align & Indent → Indentation options → select hanging from the dropdown menu under “Special Indent”.
- The annotations do not require in-text citations unless you are referring to multiple works within one annotation.
See UNCG Libraries APA Module
MLA: MLA documentation is used frequently in the humanities, especially in literature and language courses.
- Title your annotated bibliography “Annotated Bibliography” or “Annotated List of Works Cited” or whatever title your assignment requires.
- As with any MLA Works Cited list, alphabetize your entries by the first letter of the first element of each source (usually author).
- In MLA format, use a hanging indent for your bibliographic information. This means the first line of a citation is not indented but the following lines are indented .5 inches. If you use Microsoft Word, you can highlight your citation and use the Ctrl + T keys for hanging indent. In Google Docs, you can highlight your citation and then navigate to the format menu → Align & Indent → Indentation options → select hanging from the dropdown menu under “Special Indent”.
- After your citation is complete, drop down to the next line to begin the annotation, but don’t skip an extra line.
See UNCG Libraries Research MLA Module
Owl Purdue Annotated Bibliography, Samples