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BIO434H5: Social and Developmental Determinants of Human Health

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a bibliography in which each citation is followed by an explanation.

This helps you develop an overview of a topic, and will familiarize you with enough articles to help you choose two for your critiques.

Your annotated bibliography must include:

  • All criteria outlined in your assignment description (proper APA formatting, etc).
  • For each item, include:
    • A summary paragraph of the argument and/or findings. Mention the author's qualifications.
    • Make sure each summary aligns to your organizational behaviour topic.

Sample entry

Annotated Bibliographies Should Include...

Annotated bibliographies should include:

  • A Complete Citation: All citations should be formatted according to one chosen style such as MLA, APA, Turabian, or Chicago etc.
  • Some or all of the Following:
    • Contents: Main idea, purpose, goal of the work, and main argument. (this is where you will do a brief summary of the article)
    • About the Author: Qualifications, bias, tone, research methods and conclusions (tell if the author is an expert in the field or not, works for a company [has bias] or is an individual, has something to prove or preach about, has a tested theory or points)
    • Audience: Who is intended to read this? (students, professionals, experts, or people in the same cult?)
    • Special Features: The works could have extras such as illustrations, maps, tables, etc... (explain if they help make the point or add value)
    • Information: Offer actual information about the source. (list the thesis, hypothesis, proofs, conclusions and/or results)
    • Importance: Role of the work as part of the whole subject, compared to other works on the subject (is this a KEY book on the subject? Do other articles cite this article? Or is this from a magazine?)
    • Limitations: Significant omissions need to be noted as part of the scope. (Is this a general paper? Dose it only cover one small part of the topic? Does the author admit to covering only a small portion of a topic?)
    • Evaluation:  Offer your opinion of the source or why you feel this work is suitable for your paper.  (On occasion you can also tell why you looked at the source and then chose NOT to use it)

The annotated portion of the annotated bibliography is typically three to seven sentences long, BUT the length can depend on your professor and the assignment.  With shorter annotations the key elements, themes, and a brief evaluation will be all that can be covered.  Longer annotations will offer opportunities for more elements to be discussed. Consult your assignment for particular requirements; your professor may dictate a word count or length for each annotation.


adapted from Upstate Library's Guide -