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APA Annotated Bibliography: Formatting Rules, Template & Examples

APA Annotated Bibliography
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An APA annotated bibliography is a list of citations for various books, articles, and other sources on a topic, formatted according to the American Psychological Association (APA) style. Each citation is followed by a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph, known as the annotation. 

Writing an APA annotated bibliography can take time for early career researchers or Ph.D. students. However, if you know how to manage it, you will benefit from working on your dissertation or literature review. Undoubtedly, you will be glad you are experienced in bibliography writing. 

To make you professional in creating an annotated bibliography in APA style, we gathered all you needed to know in this blog. 

Here you can learn how to format an annotated bibliography in APA style 7th edition. We also share examples of annotated bibliography in APA format, which can help with your work. We hope this guide will greatly assist researchers and students writing a dissertation or thesis. Stay with StudyCrumb annotated bibliography writing service for actionable tips!

What Is an Annotated Bibliography in APA?

APA annotated bibliography is a summary of an article, book, dissertation or other scholarly text on a specific topic. APA format annotated bibliography includes a reference entry with a short explanation about the source. It may outline the key points and help readers understand if they need to read the full text. 

When creating an annotated bibliography in APA style, it is important to follow the standardized formatting guidelines and provide concise yet informative annotations for each source. In a nutshell, this is a form of note organization for a specific topic. This is how you will structure your short description of the academic text you use for your work.

Purpose of APA Annotated Bibliography

Another important point is to delineate the purpose of the bibliography in APA 7th edition. Why do you need to make this list of resources with notes if you can use abstracts prepared by authors? However, this is a tricky question. You need to ensure that in a month, year, or five years you will look at your notes and paper descriptions and will remember what this text is about. That is why you need to create APA style annotated bibliography by yourself and not rely on an author or other students. 

Don’t forget that we also offer proficient assistance with academic works. You can pay for college papers at StudyCrumb and get your annotated bibliography done according to all standards.

APA Annotated Bibliography Example

As you already know, APA annotation is an organized list of sources for a specific topic that includes the reference and a short summary of the text. APA style of formatting is one of the most frequently used for social science in the US. It defines specific order and punctuation for the source, author, and type of publication. What is the best way to understand how to organize your sources? 

Here are some examples of annotations in APA format to make it clear how to write your own.


Annotated Bibliography
Paper type:
Annotated Bibliography
2.15 MB

What Are APA Annotations?

APA annotations are brief summaries and evaluations of sources that accompany each specific citation. Annotations offer a quick overview of material used in a research paper. They serve to achieve the following goals:

  • Provide a concise description of each source, including its main argument, methodology, and conclusions.
  • Evaluate the relevance of literature to the research topic and identify any limitations or biases.
  • Organize scholar’s thoughts and identify any gaps or inconsistencies in existing research.
  • Explain how sources will be used in current research (e.g., supporting a specific argument or providing background information).
  • Help readers understand the significance of sources and their contribution to the field of study.

According to APA 7th edition requirements, each annotation should be around 150-200 words long. This is enough space to offer a concise, yet, to-the-point description.

APA Annotation Example

The best way to understand the principles of creating a short description is to learn from the sample APA annotated bibliography our experts collected. It will be a difference between annotations for an article or book chapter. But in any case, your text should delineate key points and be easy to read and understand, even for people who are not in your field.

That is why we have various options to explore for any purpose. Here you can find examples to use in your writing.

APA Annotation Example

How to Format an Annotated Bibliography in APA 7th Edition?

If you think creating a bibliography formatted according to APA style 7th edition is a huge challenge, you are mistaken. We are quite sure that with our guide it will be a piece of cake for anyone. Let’s have a detailed explanation of this process and go step-by-step through writing and formatting annotations. 

Here is the guide on what to consider when you create an APA bibliography:

  • Locate a page number in the header in the upper right corner.
  • Include an APA running head for professional versions only.
  • Use 1-inch margins.
  • Double space the entire document.
  • Justify your text to the left side.
  • Center the title "Annotated Bibliography" at the top of the page.
  • List a reference for each source first and format it according to APA style.
  • Indent the entire annotation 0.5 inches from the left margin.
  • If your annotation is more than 1 paragraph, indent the 2nd and any subsequent paragraphs an additional 0.5 inches (1 inch total).
  • Do not add extra spaces between a citation and an annotation or between multiple annotations.

APA format for annotated bibliography is based on common rules. You can find a lot of resources that use AI to help you with this task. However, if you get basic principles, you will be free to do any type of annotation formatting without any help. 

Also, it will be great to check the latest updates of the APA style guide. Even if you think that there is no big difference between the 7th and 6th editions. It is better to double-check before submitting your final document.

Example of Annotated Bibliography in APA Format

Creating a sample annotated bibliography APA requires knowledge of basic formatting rules. The annotation includes a reference to sources. To format it accordingly, you need to analyze the type of source, authors, and type of journal or book where it was published. 

You can use our APA guide to check the requirements of formatting or look at the annotated bibliography example in APA 7th edition we have.

APA 7th Annotated Bibliography Example

Sample APA Annotated Bibliography Template

Another great way to ensure that your work is done well is to use an APA style annotated bibliography template. First, choose the one that uses the same source type as you. It can be a citation of a journal article, book chapter, or online page. Next, open a Word document and insert your text, applying the same margins and spaces as in the template. 

Moreover, to create an APA annotated bibliography, you also need to follow guidelines for your specific field. 

Creating Citations for APA 7th Annotated Bibliography

Bibliography with annotations includes two important parts — source citation and brief work overview. After you format a text using samples and templates we share with you, you will need to check your reference.

APA citation for an annotated bibliography depends on the sources you are using. Formatting for a journal article, book chapter, the whole book, or a thesis of a dissertation will use different rules. For example, if you are citing a journal article, you need to put its authors first, the year of publication, the title of the article, dates, and pages. However, this order for citing a book will differ. 

That is why we advise checking examples for each citation type. 

Citation for a Book Annotation Example in APA

Example of Citation for a Book Annotation in APA

>> Learn more: How to Cite a Book APA

Citation for a Journal Annotation Example in APA

Example of Citation for a Journal Annotation in APA

>> Read more: How to Cite an Article in APA

Citation for a Website Annotation Example in APA

Example of Citation for a Website Annotation in APA

>> Learn more: How to Cite a Website in APA

Where to Find Sources for APA 7th Edition Annotated Bibliography?

Writing APA 7th edition annotated bibliography is different from creating abstracts. Your descriptions for a bibliography should be critical or underline findings from the text that is important for your research. For an abstract, you will summarize your own article. However, for annotation, you will mainly work with other sources on your topic. 

Where can you find those sources?

  • University e-library
  • Google Scholar
  • Field research journals, like JSTOR
  • Platforms like Researchgate, where you can subscribe for your topic of interest
  • Subscription for scientific publications. (For example, Yale University has a newsletter with the latest publications on various topics.)
  • Following authors that work in your field
  • Check conferences on your topic.

In most cases, researchers work with sources all the time and use different tools to manage them. For example, it can be Zotero for organizing links. You may also add annotations to this platform and use keywords search when you need to find a source for your work.

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography in APA Format?

As mentioned before, the most important step in creating an annotated bibliography in APA style is to identify its purpose. It may summarize key findings from your source, analyze weaknesses of the research, or provide a brief description of it.  

APA annotated bibliography format is guided by a Manual, which you can find in open sources. However, before you jump into formatting, you need to go through a few steps.

  1. Define your source. Ensure the text's validity and author's authority. It should be academic work, not fiction.
  2. Carefully read the text. You may start with an abstract, as it provides a research summary. But for the analytical notes, you need to go deeper into the source.
  3. Create a citation. Provide full information on each source including its author, publication date, title and publisher.
  4. Write an annotation. Choose a type of text you need for your work, and then write a 200-word summary or analysis.
  5. Double-check formatting requirements. Ensure that you have an appropriate type, margins, and double space.

Also, you may focus on what to include in the bibliography. Here is what you need to check:

  • Information about the authors
  • Audience you are writing for
  • If a source is relevant to your topic
  • What unique data your source has
  • Research methodology of this specific work
  • Key findings you need to underline for your topic.

Creating Descriptive Annotations

This is the most common type of annotation. But what does it look like in practice? Descriptive annotation summarizes your source, defines essential findings, underlines limitations, and makes a general overview of the research. You also need to include a short explanation of how this source is related to your work. It will be helpful in case you will come to these notes in years and will try to remember their relevance. 

This type of text also focuses on arguments that can be useful for your studies in the same area.

Example of Descriptive Annotation in APA Style

Example of Descriptive Annotation in APA

Creating Evaluative Annotations

Evaluation or analytical APA annotated bibliography citation goes deeper into the paper and provides not only the overview but also defines weaknesses of the research. It can point to limitations or specific approaches in the methodology used for this study. Working with this type of annotation can take more time and is usually used by college students. 

You need to be clear with the purpose of your writing with this type of assignment. In most cases, this annotation will be used in the future while composing the literature review section. Or you may need to come back to this paper later and know what to focus on.

Example of Evaluative Annotation in APA Format

Example of Evaluative Annotation In APA

How to Arrange an APA Annotated Bibliography?

The next important question is how to arrange an APA annotated bibliography and if you need a title page for it. There are a few approaches for arrangement — it can be sorted alphabetically by authors’ second names. It is the most common approach and a rule for the APA manual. Feel free to use our tool to arrange your sources alphabetically.

However, you may find that some bibliographies are sorted by year of publishing. It makes sense in some cases. For example, when you are looking into historical changes in theory or research.

Common Mistakes in APA Style Annotated Bibliography

There is no doubt that creating a bibliography is not a big deal. But every time students start working on this assignment, they have a bunch of similar mistakes. When you submit such assignments, every mistake in formatting or writing style can affect your final grade. 

Here are common errors you may have in your bibliography:

  1. Errors in reference formatting. You need to follow the rules for each type of source you are using for your bibliography. In any case, it should include authors, title, publication date, and source of publishing.
  2. Annotation is too long. There is no need to write a few pages of summary for an article or book. You need to have only one paragraph with key points.
  3. Not enough research. Often students read only the abstract or introduction and try to make an annotation based on it. You need to do proper research before summarizing or analyzing specific texts.

Checklist for APA Format Annotated Bibliography

One of the common assignments for students in a master's or Ph.D. program is to write an annotated bibliography in APA style. With our guide, this task is easy to complete. You may also use our checklist before you start your assignments.

Final Thoughts on APA Annotated Bibliography

If you are a student or early career researcher, there is no way you won’t write APA annotations. In most cases, it will be one of the assignments, but also it can be used to organize your reference library for future research. In this blog, we have outlined how to write an APA annotated bibliography and make it clean and clear. 

We have also defined common mistakes to avoid while working with your summary and provided a checklist to help you with this kind of work. We also mentioned how to organize references and what to put on the cover page of your bibliography. Hopefully, this blog will become a valuable guide for advanced assignments and science work. Check our articles if you want to find more insights. From tips on how to write an APA abstract to guidelines on APA methods section, you are sure to find valuable resources in our blog.

Need expert help?

If you still have troubles with writing annotations or formatting, feel free to check out our paper writing services. We provide top-quality content within a given deadline!

FAQ About Annotated Bibliographies in APA Format

1. What goes in an annotated bibliography in APA 7th edition?

APA annotated bibliography looks like a list of references. However, after each source, it includes one paragraph of annotation. It can be a short summary — descriptive annotation. Or it can be an analytical paragraph to underline key points, limitations, methodology, or findings. The 7th APA Manual defines key requirements for text formatting and references.

2. How long should an annotated bibliography be?

There are no strict rules on the length of the annotation. However, it is a short form of text, and it can not be written in a few pages. In most cases, it will be one paragraph of annotated text and a reference. The common length is 200-300 words. But shorter annotations often work better, as they synthesize the most valuable insights.

3. Is there a title page in APA annotated bibliography?

Yes, such a bibliography includes a title page that should be formatted based on the APA 7th Manual requirements. You also need to include your name, university, and course. However, some professors may have specific requirements for the cover page of your annotation. It is always a good idea to double-check your task.

4. Should an APA annotated bibliography be double-spaced?

The answer is yes. APA annotation should be written with double space and use Times New Roman or another easy-to-read type. Also, the APA style requires specific margins and formatting for the reference list. But if you are uncertain about double space, you can check the latest APA Manual or use our samples.

5. Should I indent an APA annotated bibliography?

APA annotated bibliography is the most common type of assignment. It is also often used by researchers and students to organize the sources they read or work with. It is much easier to find the article you need if you already have a short summary or one paragraph with key findings. 

6. Do APA annotated bibliographies have to be in alphabetical order?

We would say that this is the common rule to have your annotations in alphabetical order. In some cases, it is possible to organize it by the year of publication. But it works only if you are writing about historical changes in a research topic. If you don’t have specific requirements, go with alphabetical order of sources for your annotations.

7. Does APA annotated bibliography have a reference page?

A lot of people think that annotated bibliography is the same as a reference list and can be used instead of it. However, it is two different types of assignments. In other words, an annotated bibliography is a combination of references and a short description of this source. That is why you do not need a separate reference list for annotation.

8. Does an annotated bibliography replace a reference page?

An annotated bibliography is a separate document, and it does not replace a reference page. It is another type of document you may need for your research. Annotations often look like a reference list, but they include not only the source citation but also its description.

Article posted on:Apr 20, 2023
Article updated on:Apr 9, 2024


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