How to Write an Annotated Bibliography: What to Do

Information and resources on how to create an annotated bibliography.


  1. Search for and record citations on your topic.
  2. Search for a variety of sources:
  1. Use a subject specific database-- select a subject from the ALL SUBJECTS bar.
  2. Search Summon, which searches the library's full-text articles as well as books.
  3. Still unsure of where to look?  Ask a Librarian.
  4. Write down synonyms or keywords for your topic.  Use these in your search. Can't think of synonyms?   Look at the words used in the abstracts of articles or books that you find.  
  5. Try to find "core" sources or sources that are considered landmark or seminal.. Not sure if you have a landmark source?   Google Scholar can give you a rough idea of the importance of your source:  If a high number of articles cite yours, (most of the time, but not always) it is considered important. Paste the title of your article in Google Scholar search box.  Look at the number of other articles that cite your article title:


  1. Evaluate your sources.   A source evaluation rubric may be found below.
  2. Pay attention to the references found in your sources' Works Cited or Bibliography.  From the Works Cited, you can garner additional sources of information on your topic.
  3. Run a citation search in Google Scholar on several of your scholarly journal articles.   Click on the Cited by link (above, circled) to find works that have cited your scholarly journal article.  


  1. Record all of your citations.  Email them to yourself as you work or export them into a citation manager--like Zotero.
  2. Use the appropriate style for citing your sources.  Ask your professor which style you should use.
  3. Find information on styles used at LVC here.  
  4. Use a citation management tool (Zotero) to collect, store and format your citations.  


  1. Check your assignment instructions. What type of annotation did your professor specify?
  2. Begin reading your major sources--this'll give you a good grounding and provide context for your other sources. 
  3. As you read, take notes and compose a rough annotation. 
  4. You may find at this point that your annotation is wordy and includes too many details. That's fine and normal at this point.  Later on you can shorten and clean things up.
  5. After you've written your first draft begin cleaning up and condensing your annotations.
  6. Annotations should be between 100-200 words.
  7. Check annotations for grammatical, punctuation, and style errors. 
  8. Avoid the passive voice: Change "handedness was addressed by the author" to "the author addressed handedness..."
  9. Check your citations for accuracy and completeness.  Be sure your citations consistently follow the appropriate style


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