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ENGL 095 - Integrated Reading & Writing: Annotated Bibliographies

What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of sources (books, articles, films, etc.) that includes a citation of the source, followed by a brief summary and critical evaluation of the source.

Each citation is followed by a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

Creating the Annotation

Your annotation should include a mix of summary and critical evaluation, in your own words. Below are some tips for putting the annotation together.

  • What is the source about? Provide a summary of the source IN YOUR OWN WORDS. Do not copy the abstract. Do not plagiarize.
    Summarize the central theme, argument, and/or findings of the books, article, or document. Keep it brief.


Here is the main meat of the annotation. There is a lot you can tell about a source by examining it. Critically evaluate the source for quality and credibility. Below are some questions to consider:

  • Authority: Who is the author? What are the author's credentials and qualifications (educational background, past writing, experience) in this area? Note if there is no author listed or if no information about the author is provided.
  • Publication: Where was the source published? Is it from a university press, a large reputable publisher, a government agency, a popular general interest publication, self-published? What can you find out about the source? What type of publication is this? 
  • Reliability: Did they cite their sources? What is the quality of these references? Does the information appear to be well-researched or is it unsupported by evidence? Is the publication organized logically? Are the main points clearly presented? 
  • Purpose: Is the information presented based on fact, opinion, or propaganda? Is the author's point of view objective and impartial or biased and/or emotional? Who is the target audience?
  • Does this resource support your topic? How would you use it in a paper?
  • Do you find the text easy or difficult to read?
  • Is the source current or out-of-date for your topic?

Annotated Bibliographies: An Illustrated Guide (3:11)

Writing an Annotated Bibliography Tutorial (3:18)

Good News: Ready-made Citations

Most of the MCC Library's online databases, as well as its eBook collections, provide you with ready-made citations (MLA or APA). Cut and paste them into your document. Check citation formatting using the resources on this page, and add in-text citations, too.

Librarians and tutors in the MCC Learning Commons can help you create citations for sources that you find elsewhere and can review your citations before you submit your work.

Librarians can even help you relocate an article for which you have incomplete information.

Writing Annotated Bibliographies

Sample Annotation

Weis, Judith S. Marine Pollution: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford University Press, 2015. EBSCOhost,

The book Marine Pollution, published by the reputable Oxford University Press, gives an in-depth analysis of the various types of marine pollution in today’s world. Specifically, it covers industrial, household, commercial, and offshore sources of waste. It also considers the long terms implications of such pollution, and the corresponding consequences for humans.

The author, Judith Weis, is an established biologist with a focus on marine conservation. A large part of her work involves the studying of micro plastics, a key element in my topic. Her Cornell University education as well as career accomplishments points to a high legitimacy for her written works. Nonetheless, a bias in her book was definitely present, as she portrayed the oceans in a very pressing light while criticizing those who are not helping to remedy the issue. Her book flows in a clear manner making it simple to follow, and 13 pages of reference citations proves a high degree of thoroughness in her work. Published in 2015 makes this work fairly recent and one I would incorporate in a larger paper. However, some of her statistics would have to be checked to verify if they are still accurate as much can change.

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