Annotated bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a list of academic sources (books, journal articles, etc.) with short comments underneath each source that summarise their content and evaluate their usefulness for a research purpose. 

Scroll down for our recommended strategies and resources. 


Be selective. Each annotation is usually relatively short (100-200 words) so you do not need to summarise everything in the source. Focus on the usefulness to your research and your purpose. See this guide for prompt questions to help structure your annotations concisely:


As well as summarising the main argument of each source, analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the source. See this example annotation that highlights the parts that evaluate the source and reflect on its usefulness:


See the following annotated bibliographies as examples of what they look like as a whole:

Not a literature review

Do not confuse an annotated bibliography with a literature review. You might be asked to write an annotated bibliography as preparation for a literature review. However, a literature review compares and links sources so does not take the form of a list. See our literature review resources to understand the difference: