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Writing an Annotated Bibliography: What is an Annotated Bibliography?

How to write an annotated bibliography

How to find other literature reviews

Databases contain published literature reviews or studies that include a literature review. Select databases that relate to your topic and search for "literature review" or simply "review" as a keyword and combine it with your topic keywords to find existing literature reviews.

Although this may provide a starting point to research, never rely on another's literature review to cover all the aspects and unique elements of your own research topic.

Tip for managing research

RefWorks is a tool that stores and saves citation information and will also create bibliographies in different citation and journal formats.

Upload PDFs of articles or your notes to your RefWorks account and never have to carry a flash drive or your laptop to research again.

Create a RefWorks account and view the tutorials to get started today.

What is an annotated bibliography?

Annotated bibliographies present a series of sources that represent research in a given area or field. They represent the evolution of theory or research in the discipline or the different schools of thought that provide insight into the problem or phenomenon. 

Each entry should include:

  • Properly formatted citation to the work in the citation style required.
  • The annotation which includes:
    • A brief 1-2 sentence summary of the work. 
    • The remainder of the 200-500 words in the annotation explain the relevance of the source to the topic
    • Why it is representative of the problem, phenomenon, or solution
    • The significance of the work to the development of the field or theory


Sample annotated bibliography

Click on the citation below, open the full text of the article, and scan the contents and structure of the annotated bibliography.

Sample annotated bibliography using APA Citation Style:

Montano, M. F., Mehdi, H., & Nash, D. B. (2016). Annotated bibliography: Understanding ambulatory care practices in the context

     of patient safety and quality improvement. American Journal of Medical Quality31(2_suppl), 29S-43S.



Sample annotated bibliography using AMA Citation Style:

Montano MF, Mehdi H, Nash DB. Annotated Bibliography: Understanding Ambulatory Care Practices in the Context of Patient

     Safety and Quality Improvement. American Journal of Medical Quality. 2016;31:29S-43S. doi:10.1177/1062860616664164