Skip to Main Content

ENGL 1301 Cagle

Annotated Bibliographies

An Annotated Bibliography is a Works Cited list with one addition: descriptions ("annotations") written under each citation that summarize and analyze that source.  


Writing an annotated bibliography is a useful step in the research process because it can help you figure out what your research sources are really saying and how you can use them to support your thesis in a research paper.

Scroll down for resources to help you format an Annotated Bibliography in MLA and write annotations for your sources. 

Annotated Bibliography Help

Format an annotated bibliography in Word the same way you'd format any paper in MLA style.

Your Word document should have:

  • An easily readable font (most professors prefer Times New Roman)

  • 11-13 point size (most professors prefer 12 point font)

  • Double spacing

  • 1-inch margins

  • Your last name and page number at the top right of each page header

  • Heading information at the top left of the first page: 

    • Your Name

    • Your Professor's Name

    • Class and section number 

    • Date

  • Hanging indent on each Works Cited citation

  • Citations are organized in alphabetical order by author (or title if the source doesn't have an author)


For help formatting a Word document in MLA style, check out our step-by-step slideshow:

Create citations for Annotated Bibliographies the same way you would for Works Cited lists in MLA. 

For help creating citations in MLA, refer to the Works Cited List Citations in MLA page in this guide choose a type of source for the correct format and an example:

The MLA says that "Annotations describe or evaluate sources." 

Before you start your annotated bibliography, you'll need to do three things:

1. Find your sources.

2. Read your sources.

3. Check your assignment sheet and/or D2L page for your professor's directions about how to write your annotations.

You may be required to summarize and evaluate the source's reliability, or you may just need to summarize it. You may have to pick a relevant quote from the source and say where you'd use it in your paper, or you may not. You may have to use full sentences, or just short phrases. Always double-check your assignment! 


What kind of annotation are you writing?

If your annotations need to summarize the source, think about how you'd describe what you just read to a classmate. Don't worry about including nitty-gritty details. How could you summarize the purpose and conclusion of your source in one or two sentences?

If your annotations need to evaluate the source, describe why you consider this a trustworthy source of information. Some questions you can ask yourself and answer in the annotation:

  • Was it written by experts on that topic? If so, how can you tell: are their job titles or credentials listed? 
  • Was it published by a reliable publication, like an academic journal or a reputable news source? 
  • Is the information recent enough for this topic?
  • Do the authors document their sources? 


For more information on writing annotations, check out these tips from the MLA Style Center:


How should you format annotations?

Once you've read your sources and formatted your annotated bibliography, you can start to write annotations. 

Depending on what your professor wants, you will either use short phrases or complete sentences for your annotation. In either case, you will indent your annotation 1 inch from the left margin in order to distinguish it from the half-inch hanging indent of the citation entry above. [MLA 5.132] 

Need a visual? Take a look at our sample annotated bibliography:

Need more help? Try one of these resources or contact a librarian