Formatting Guides

MLA Annotated Bibliography: Guide & Examples

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An MLA annotated bibliography is a list of sources, such as books, articles, and websites, that includes a brief description and evaluation of each source. Each annotation typically consists of two parts: a citation in MLA format and a brief paragraph that summarizes, evaluates, and reflects on the source.

This blog post contains comprehensive information on how to create an MLA Annotated bibliography. We will discuss the following questions:

  • Why do you need an annotated bibliography and how do you compose it in MLA?
  • How to format different kinds of sources in annotated bibliography?
  • How it is different from an APA format paper?

Besides, a few examples will be provided to illustrate this information. In case you need more information about different kinds of citing in this format such as footnotes MLA, etc, we are here to help.

Stay with us and you will easily grasp the formatting basics of annotated bibliography in MLA!  

MLA Annotated Bibliography

An MLA annotated bibliography contains your research sources' list that includes:

  1. A proper citation
  2. A description with this source's evaluation.

This kind of bibliography's purpose is to review all material available on your topic. Depending on your task, this may include:

  • demonstrating your research's depth
  • highlighting most important sources
  • exploring potential sources for further research.

An annotated bibliography in MLA 9th edition requires you to provide a proper citation for each source in this section. This includes:  

  1. Author’s name
  2. Chosen work' full title
  3. Publisher and publication year.

How to cite multiple authors (MLA bibliography), you wonder? The solution is just putting ‘et al.’ after the first author’s name if this source has more than three authors.
Below we will review MLA style requirements for formatting an annotated text.  

How to Format Annotated Bibliography MLA

An annotated bibliography MLA format requires you to make a bibliological list of entries for all your sources. Think about what you used in your current research: books, journal or newspaper articles, websites, etc. This section of your research paper should contain proper references. Each of them must be followed by a review of this specific source.  

Let's take a look at a review section on how to format an annotated bibliography (MLA):

  • Make a 0.5 in indent for an entire review text.
  • Citation with an author’s name should stay flushed left. This indicates the beginning of your bibliographic entry.
  • Aside from indent, keep your text double-spaced. Its general format should match that of the rest of your paper.

You need to provide an author's background in your list of sources. Remember to include the main idea of their work and all arguments supporting it. Research methods, conclusions, relevance and an overall reliability of the source are also to be included.

APA vs MLA Bibliography

Let us compare APA vs MLA bibliography formatting, starting with citations. MLA requires you to provide full authors’ first names. Capitalize each major word in titles and provide MLA date format at the end of your citation. In APA, you give an initial of the first name, put date (in brackets) after authors’ names. You also capitalize the first letter of a title only.

Requirements for text you used in your bibliography are mostly the same in each style. It mostly depends on specifics of your research and types of sources you need to analyze.

Running head of your bibliographic page would also be slightly different in both cases. In MLA, it should contain your last name and page number. In APA it should include page number and also shortened paper title for manuscripts. Should your thesis require an annotated bibliography, consider our custom thesis writing solution as an alternative. 

Annotated Bibliography MLA Example

We have prepared an annotated bibliography MLA example. This will better illustrate the information provided in this article. Check the following template and feel free to use the same formatting when reviewing your own sources. StudyCrumb's custom dissertation writing service already includes this type of work by default.

Doe, Jane. My Awesome Book. Doe Publications, 2020

Final Thoughts

In this article, we have reviewed MLA annotated bibliography elements and requirements in details, particularly:

  • Structure of your bibliography and its purpose
  • Main components
  • Formatting rules of this section
  • Difference between MLA and APA rules for making an annotation for your bibliographic entry
  • An example for this kind of bibliology has been provided to better illustrate an information above.

This quick guide was made to help you with your progress in conducting research. Also, it explained how to compose a high-quality paper to display its results in the best way. Proper formatting is a good step towards a successful work submission and getting a high mark. So pay attention to these hints and create your own winning paper! Buy annotated bibliography from experts if you have any trouble.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Annotated Bibliography in MLA Format

1. How do you head an annotated bibliography MLA?

MLA annotated bibliography should start with citing each source. The citation serves as entry's running head. In the following annotated text you are expected to describe your source's main ideas. Also, specify its arguments, themes, theses, and conclusions. Review and evaluate its methodology and relevance for your own research. Identify an intended audience and show its possible flaws, e.g. the lack of depth in a certain area. Don’t forget to properly format your entire entry.

2. Should an annotated bibliography be in alphabetical order?

An annotated bibliography should be alphabetized by the last names of its sources’ lead authors. Entries in an annotation should be in an A to Z order. No additional sorting is required among these references or within each single reference.

In case your source has no author, you should put the name of the journal or website. If there's none, use an organization's name who owns a website, or the title of work. Such references are sorted in the same order as others in this annotation. Namely: by first word of a name or a title.  

3. Can I use first person in annotated bibliography?

Usually, an annotated bibliography should be in third person. This is because you focus on an author and their work and write about them. Format of your bibliography does not allow including direct quotes into annotations. After all, you cannot write about an author in the first person.

However, if your paper' style allows writing about your own reflections, you can put them in first person into your sources' annotations.  

4. Is annotated bibliography double-spaced in MLA?

An MLA annotated bibliography is fully double-spaced, both within each citation and within sentences between them. The annotated bibliography section should follow the same rules the MLA style has for the entire research paper which is why double-spacing is required here. Please note that requirements for the bibliography section at the end of a paper are not related to the requirements of the annotated bibliography section this article is talking about.

Article posted on:May 4, 2022
Article updated on:May 10, 2023


Leave your comment here:
6/24/2022 11:08 AM
Hello! Does annotated bibliography have a reference page?
6/24/2022 12:34 PM
Hi John,

The annotated bibliography is pretty similar to a reference list but contains a brief annotation after each source cited. So basically yes, an annotated bibliography is like an extended version of a reference page.
6/24/2022 12:43 PM
Thanks a lot for your answer! Anyway, your article helped me organize my annotated bibliography.
6/24/2022 12:45 PM
Great to hear! We are always here to help:)