For Students – Annotated Bibliography

This assignment is notoriously challenging. In fact, an annotated bibliography is, arguably, as difficult for educators to teach as it is for students to write. However, the assignment is easier than you might expect.

To simplify things, let’s take a brief moment and define each word. On one hand, the word annotation is quite old, and can be traced back to Latin. Annotation simply refers to a written comment. On the other, the contemporary definition of the word bibliography is much younger, and most likely began in the 19th century. A bibliography is a list of sources.

An annotated bibliography, then, is defined by its two parts: (1) an annotated (2) list of sources.


  • Comment on the relationship between each writer’s annotated bibliography and their finished research paper. What features do they share? How do they differ? How might you begin to account for these differences?
  • Based on your reading of both annotated bibliographies and research papers, what is the role of the annotated bibliography in the research process? In their annotated bibliographies, what strategies do these writers use to work with their research?

Consult Purdue OWL for more information on annotated bibliographies.