Annotated bibliography example


In this article, we are going to look at how to create an APA-format annotated bibliography. As you can see, I’m in Word right now and a couple of things I want to set up to be sure my document is just how I want it for APA formatting.

How to write an annotated bibliography?

First, I want to choose my margins which can found in Page Layout.

annotated bibliography example

I want to be sure to select “Normal” which has 1” margins all the way around.

Next, from the Home tab, I can be sure that my font is a “sans serif” font, according to APA format. Times New Roman works perfectly and I also want to set my font to size 12 point. Lastly, I want to select the spacing for my document as double-spacing.

annotated bibliography example

Once we have these settings, we will start by typing the title of the work at the top center of the page.

Our next section does not need to be centered, so I will use this button to left-align my work.

Now let’s go to one of the papers I’ve read for my annotated bibliography.

Here, you can see a couple of different things that are important to note.

The first is the title of the journal which is here, Nature Neuroscience.

annotated bibliography example

The other thing you would see on this page is the title, and the authors. But this is not all the information you will need for your APA formatted citation.

annotated bibliography example

You will also need the volume number and page numbers of the article.

So where would we find that? Down here at the bottom of the page we see volume 12, year of publication is 2009, and although the page numbers are not written explicitly, we can see pages 253 through 255 in the bottom right hand corner.

annotated bibliography example

The last thing you want to know is whether there is a DOI for the article – a Digital Object Identifier – which provides a place of permanent access for the article.

Now that we have that information, we want to be sure we are formatting it properly for our APA citation.

We will start by coping the author’s names from the article and paste them in our Word document.

But of course this is not in APA formatting.

I will move this down so I can see it easily.

What I want to do first is type out the last name of the first author.

Type “Wang”, “comma”, “S”, “period”. There are other authors so I will continue my list with a comma.

Before the last author, type an ampersand and the final author.

Annotated bibliography example

You can see we’ve taken this information from the article and adpated it to APA format. Be sure to use periods in between as shown here.

Next we want to put the year of publication which you may recall is 2009.

The next part of the citation comes from the title of the paper.

Let’s go back to the paper, copy the title, and paste that here. Paste as text to make sure you don’t carry over any formatting and also arrange in one line.

Now, APA formatting is particular in that the title has only the first word capitalized and none of the subsequent words are capitalized.

You can see these are all lowercase letters.

For the title of the journal, we want to use italics, which we select up here. Nature Neuroscience,

Now note that the title of the journal is in capital letters for all words. Next comes the volume number. Volume 12.

And then the page numbers are not italicized, 253-255 with a period at the end.

There is one last thing we need to do for APA format. We need a “hanging indent” at the front of the citation.

So if you come back to the beginning of the line and hit “Tab”, this is what will happen to your citation.

Let’s undo that. We want to instead hit “enter” and then “Tab”, which will move the bottom line over.

This is called a hanging indent. This is the finished citation for your first article.

annotated bibliography example

Next, after the citation, include the text about your annotation. From here, I can copy over my annotation which is already written out.

One other thing I wanted to mention. For any article with a DOI, be sure to put the DOI at the end of your citation.

We will copy the DOI from the article, add it to our citation, right at the end.

Again, we want this line to have a hanging indent.

annotated bibliography example

Then you’ll find the text of your annotation immediately following that particular citation.

Then you’ll start off with your next citation.

Coming over here, something else about APA formatting is that your citations need to be in alphabetical order according to the last name of the first author.

annotated bibliography example

So here, our first author’s last name is Wang.

In the 2nd citation, the author is Riedell.

In the third citation, the author is Eldridge.

So what we need to do is re-arrange our list so that it is in alphabetical order by the last name of the first author of each of our articles.

So “E” comes before “R” and “W” in the alphabet, so this citation will go first.

We will move our last citation and move it to the top of the annotated bibliography.

We will move our last citation and move it to the top of the annotated bibliography.

We will move Riedell to second on the annotated bibliography.

annotated bibliography example

So now you can see we have our three sources are listed in alphabetical order by the last name of the first author.

Eldridge, Riedell, and Wang.

That’s basically all you need to know about APA formatting for your annotated bibliography.

annotated bibliography example

Pay close attention to the formatting of the citations themselves as this is the same formatting you will be expected to use in your literature review.

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