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Annotated Bibliography APA Style: Get Started With The Perfect Guide

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Annotated Bibliography APA

Are you a research student seeking to write an annotated bibliography in APA style?

Being a research student is hard. However, not knowing how to write an annotated bibliography in one of the most used citation styles makes it harder.

This guide will help you get started with the basics of an annotated bibliography. It will also provide examples of properly formatted citations for different types of sources to help you out.

So dive in to make your research work easier!

On This PageArrow Down

  • 1. Understanding Annotated Bibliography
  • 2. How to Write an Annotated Bibliography APA 7th Edition?
  • 3. Examples of Annotated Bibliography APA
  • 4. Tips for Effective APA Annotation Writing

Understanding Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations that includes a brief description and/or evaluation of each source. It can be used to track sources as part of your research project. It is also used to provide an in-depth analysis of the material you are citing.

The annotation should provide enough information for readers to determine if the source is relevant to the research. You can write an annotated bibliography on any academic topic or subject. 

Expert Tip

Here is a list of potential annotated bibliography topics for your assistance!

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Components of an Annotated Bibliography APA 7th Edition

There are two major components of an annotated bibliography: the citation and the annotation.

  • The Citation  
    This part of your annotated bibliography follows the rules of APA 7th style to format a reference list entry. Examples include books, articles, websites, etc.
  • The Annotation 
    This is the descriptive and/or evaluative part of your annotated bibliography. Here you can provide readers with more information about the sources used in your research.

Here is an annotated bibliography APA 7 example:

Bridges, G. S., Crutchfield, R. D., & Simpson, E. E. (1987). Crime, social structure and criminal punishment: White and Nonwhite rates of imprisonment. Social Problems, 34(4), 345-361.

Bridges et al. explore what aspects of crime, social structure, and the criminal justice system might explain differential rates of incarceration between whites and nonwhites. For measures of social structure, they calculated for each county in Washington state the level of economic inequality between whites and nonwhites, the degree of urbanization, and the percentage population of nonwhites. Likewise, they used data on county crime and arrest rates, as well as the workload of county courts, to measure the effect of crime and the criminal justice system respectively. These data were supplemented by interviews with law enforcement officials, judges, and public leaders.

The authors found that, although statistically significant, violent crime and arrest rates had limited influences on differential rates of imprisonment. However, the percentage of non-white population and urbanization had a significant and direct impact. Increasing minority population percentages strongly correlated with increasing nonwhite imprisonment rates whereas they had no effect on the white rate. In addition, the nonwhite imprisonment rate increased as county urbanization increased, while the white rate actually declined slightly.

The workload of the county courts did not appear to contribute to racial disparities. In conclusion, Bridges et al assert that as minority populations increase, especially in urban areas where minorities tend to be segregated and where crime is more intense, there may be a heightened sense that minorities represent a threat to a community order. In response to this perceived threat, law enforcement officials adopt informal strategies for controlling crime that have racially disparate impacts.

Watch this video to understand citation and referencing in APA 7th edition more deeply:

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography APA 7th Edition?

Writing an annotated bibliography APA 7th Edition can be a daunting task. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Choose Reliable Sources 
    Select sources that have been vetted by experts in the field. For instance, peer-reviewed journal articles or books published by reputable publishers.
  • Look for Key Information 
    Aim to identify the author’s credentials, publication date, the title of the source, and other relevant details about sources.
  • Write a Brief Summary  
    Annotated bibliographies should provide a summary of the work, including the main argument and any relevant evidence.
  • Include Your Own Analysis 
    Your annotation should include an evaluation of the source. It should include your opinion on how useful it is for your research project.
  • Use Apa 7th Style in the Citation 
    Make sure to follow the correct formatting style for your annotated bibliography, such as APA 7th Edition.

APA Annotated Bibliography Formatting Guidelines

When formatting an annotated bibliography APA 7th Edition, there are certain guidelines that should be followed. Here is a brief overview of the key elements:

  • The reference list should be double-spaced and in alphabetical order.
  • Citations for each source should begin with the author’s last name and initial(s), followed by the year of publication.
  • Each annotation should include a brief summary, evaluation, and/or reflection.
  • Annotations should be indented one-half inch from the margin.
  • The reference list should state “Annotated Bibliography” at the top.
  • The text should be in Times New Roman 12-point font and double-spaced.
  • Citations should follow APA 7th Edition style for referencing and formatting.

Follow these guidelines to ensure that your annotated bibliography is correctly formatted according to APA 7:

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Examples of Annotated Bibliography APA

The best way to master any citation style is by studying examples. This is especially true for APA, as it is one of the simplest and most commonly used styles. The basic structure of the APA citation is relatively easy to learn and remember.

Read on to find some sample annotations written in APA style.

Annotated Bibliography APA Sample 

Here is an APA 7th edition annotated bibliography example pdf. Take a careful look to learn about formatting your annotated bibliography accurately.

Expert Tip

Head out to our blog about annotated bibliography examples if you need examples in other styles as well.

Annotated Bibliography APA 7th edition template

An annotated bibliography APA 7th edition template can help ensure that you accurately format your citations, summaries, and evaluations of sources.

The template below would provide guidance on the basics of how to create an APA-formatted bibliography.

Title Page for Annotated Bibliography APA

Most academic assignments, including annotated bibliographies, begin with a title page. A title page is meant to introduce the assignment and provide a brief overview of the content and its author.

The American Psychological Association also provides guidelines for formatting a title page. 

The following is an example of an APA title page for an annotated bibliography:


Tips for Effective APA Annotation Writing

Writing annotations in APA format is crucial for clear and concise communication of a source's content and its relevance to your research. To ensure your annotations meet APA guidelines effectively, consider these tips:

  • Maintain a Hanging Indent: Create a hanging indent for your annotation entries. The first line starts at the left margin, and subsequent lines are indented 0.5 inches from the left. This format aligns with APA reference page guidelines.
  • Be Concise: Keep your annotations brief yet informative. Summarize the source's main points and provide a concise evaluation of its credibility and relevance to your research.
  • Consistency is Key: Maintain uniformity in your annotation entries. Use the same font, spacing, and hanging indent format for all entries in your annotated bibliography.
  • Clear Structure: Clearly differentiate between the summary and evaluation sections of your annotations. Use subheadings, if needed, to make the structure evident to the reader.
  • Stay Focused: Align your annotations with your research objectives or thesis statement. Ensure that each annotation directly contributes to your study's goals.
  • Always Proofread: Before finalizing your annotations, thoroughly proofread them. Correct any spelling or grammar errors and ensure that the formatting adheres to APA guidelines.

By following these tips, you can produce well-structured and APA-compliant annotations that enhance the quality and professionalism of your annotated bibliography.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Creating Annotated Bibliographies

Avoiding these mistakes is crucial for producing a high-quality annotated bibliography:

  • Inadequate Summaries: Failing to provide concise, informative summaries of each source can leave readers confused about the source's content.
  • Lack of Evaluation: Overlooking the evaluation aspect can diminish the value of your annotations. Always assess the source's quality, relevance, and credibility.
  • Disregarding APA Guidelines: Neglecting to follow APA 7th Edition guidelines for formatting and citations can lead to inconsistencies and errors.
  • Overloading Annotations: Avoid making your annotations overly lengthy or detailed. Keep them succinct and to the point.
  • Missing Relevance: Ensure that each source in your annotated bibliography directly relates to your research topic to maintain its significance.
  • Ignoring Proofreading: Skipping the editing process can result in grammatical errors, typos, and formatting issues, which can negatively impact your bibliography's professionalism.

To wrap up, it is important to remember that an annotated bibliography APA has its own set of formatting rules. Strict adherence to these rules is essential for creating a professional document that is correctly cited.

By following the examples provided in this blog, you can create an accurate and well-written annotated bibliography.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 3 parts of an annotated bibliography APA?

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The three parts of an annotated bibliography APA are the citation, summary, and evaluation. The citation includes information about the source such as author name, year published, title, publisher name and location. The summary provides a general overview of the source material. The evaluation provides a critical analysis based on the content of the source. 

How long should an APA annotated bibliography be?

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The length of an APA annotated bibliography depends on the number of sources and the amount of detail each annotation includes. Generally, the annotations should be around 200-250 words for each source. 


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Caleb S.


Caleb S.

Caleb S. has been providing writing services for over five years and has a Masters degree from Oxford University. He is an expert in his craft and takes great pride in helping students achieve their academic goals. Caleb is a dedicated professional who always puts his clients first.

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