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CFY Healthy Communities Guide: Annotated Bib

What is a Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of sources (books, articles, etc.) you use when researching a specific topic.  Each source in the bibliography is represented by a citation that includes the author (if given), title, and publication details of the source. Each citation is followed by a brief annotation (usually about 150 words); a descriptive and evaluative paragraph. The purpose of the annotation is to help the reader evaluate whether the work cited is relevant to a specific research topic or line of inquiry.


When creating an annotated bibliography you will need to know how to summarize and analyze, and know how to do library research.

  1. Develop a research question and thesis, and come up with search terms (keywords).
  2. Locate citations to books, periodicals, and documents that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic.
  3. Briefly examine and review the actual items (learn about how to critically analyze information). Then choose those works that provide a variety of perspectives on your topic.
  4. Read the items that are most appropriate.
  5. Cite the book, article, or document using the appropriate style.
  6. Write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article. 
  7. Write an introduction to your annotated bibliography: Define the topic, and the scope of your bibliography, whether it is meant to cover the whole range of opinion or just one viewpoint or aspect. Describe the scope of your bibliography, include whether it covers what you judge to be the best, or the most recent, or a broad sample of the available material on your topic.
  8. Review your AB and introduction, be sure that your introduction is based on on the citations you have selected.

Annotated Bibliography Example