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Annotated Bibliography (APA)

Annotated Bibliography (APA)

Author: Katherine Sutton

Understand how to properly create an entry for an annotated bibliography in APA format.

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Hi. My name is Katie. And today we'll discuss an APA annotated bibliography. In today's lesson we'll take a look at the definition of an annotated bibliography and discuss what makes it different from a traditional bibliography format. Next we'll look at how annotated bibliographies are constructed by looking at both the citation and the annotation. Finally, we'll take a look at a sample annotated bibliography and examine what APA formatting really looks like.

Let's begin with the definition. A bibliography is a list of sources, including their bibliographic data. You're probably familiar with this format.

An annotated bibliography, however, is the same thing, but has brief relevant notes attached. As you can see on this sample here, we have that traditional citation followed by a short paragraph about the source. This is the only difference between a traditional bibliography and an annotated one. So for the rest of the lesson, we'll take a look at what APA formatting requires.

An annotated bibliography has two components for each source that you include. The first is the citation. This tutorial focuses on citation guidelines put out by the American Psychological Association. So you're going to use APA formatting for work that's done in social sciences.

The annotation is similar, no matter which citation format you use. And this is where you summarize and respond to the text. You can ask yourself questions like, do you agree or disagree with the article?

Do you see any problems with the source that your essay needs to address? Is there something exciting about the source that you should include? Or does the source itself have other sources in common with your essay? Recording bibliographic information and corresponding annotations is very important so that you can identify and access information quickly.

In order to discuss qualities of good annotated bibliographies, like the one pictured here, I want to take a look at not only a sample annotated bibliography, but I'm also going to walk you through the process that I personally use when creating one. Here's a sample of my notes on a journal article used for my research. As you can see, I label it at the top with an APA-formatted citation. This is helpful for me to orient myself as I conduct my research, and it also just allows me to copy and paste it into my final annotated bibliography.

Next I use bullet points and key quotations as I read. This is a way for me to be engaged as I read. And I can also reference these as I go through my research. And finally, I reflect back on the article after I read it. This is when I construct my annotation.

Although there are no set requirements for what you should include in an annotation, generally you want to include at least a few sentences about the article's thesis or argument. And sometimes it's also helpful to include page numbers for key concepts or quotes. I also find it helpful to include a note on how you see this article in contributing to your source.

It's not important to make sure that these are perfect as you go through because chances are you're not going to need to cite all of your research in your final essay. But if you at least give a nice rough draft of your annotation here, it really saves time when you get down to making your final product. While I recommend that you either familiarize yourself with reliable web sources or purchase an APA style guide, I'll detail some general guidelines and nuances of APA formatting using a sample reference list from my research on foreign language learning.

Your bibliography is a reference list. And each source that you cite in the text of your paper needs to have a full citation here. It should have come on a fresh page after the text of your essay and should have the label "references" center lined at the top of the page.

The text that you see up here at the top is part of the running head. This should go throughout your entire essay. This here from the title of my paper. And then over here I have the page number. It comes as the last section of my documents. So in this case, it's page eight.

Your entries should all be double spaced. ' This includes not only your citation, but also your annotation. Now, when you're making your citation, there are a few things that you should consider. One is organization. You want to make sure that your citations are in alphabetical order. As you can see, this paper is.

The next thing that you want to consider is what's called an hanging indent. The first line of each citation should be at the left margin. But as you can see, the second line is pushed over just a little bit. Then you want to attend to guidelines for different types of articles. Let's look at a few different kinds.

In this case here, we have an article from an online database. I have the author and a period, the date in parentheses with a period after that. And then I have the title of the article. Capitalization rules in APA formatting dictate that you just capitalize the first letter in the article. And no matter what role the following terms play in the title, you lower case all of them.

Next I have the italicized name of the journal followed by the volume and issue number. Then there's a comma followed by page numbers and a period. Finally, you want to give the URL where you found this, and you can copy and paste this from your browser.

Here's an example of a print source. Again, I have my author's name, last name first, and the period afterwards, followed by the date of publication in parentheses with a period. Again, the title is in italics, begins with a capital letter, but all subsequent letters are in lowercase. And this is, again, followed by a period. And then we have the city of publication, colon, and the publisher's name followed by a period.

Now that we've discussed how reference pages are constructed, let's take a look at how they can facilitate the drafting of your research essay. In this first annotation, for example, I spent a lot of time detailing the content of the article. So immediately I'm visually prompted to recognize this as a good source to cite for giving explanations to my readers about what my topic generally involves.

For example, I note that this is about semantic knowledge of English vocabulary words. It focused on native Mandarin Chinese speakers. This is the test they used for their study. This is what they were investigating. These were the results of the experiment.

But I give a little sentence at the end that says this article is a useful source for this argument because it refutes the claim that length of instruction is linked to semantic awareness. Now, without even looking at my notes on this individual article, I know that it's an important source to include my paper and why. So as I'm going through, trying to perhaps create a detailed organizer for my essay, I can see that this argument, which runs counter to my thesis, is something that I should include.

For the second source, which you can see is also a digital journal article, I've again given a basic explanation. I say this is a three-part study that investigates the nature of lexical selection. This is what the participants were asked to do. This is what they were looking for. These were some of the variables of the experiment. These are the results of the experiment. Here's what happened in experiment two.

And then down here at the bottom, I've made this annotation incredibly useful for me because I've included a quote that's going to be particularly important to include in my essay. Now, instead of having to search through folders and folders of notes, looking for this one quote that I know is really going to work, I have it already here picked out for me and oriented with the source that it comes from so that I don't have to waste any time just trying to track it down. For the final source that I'll talk about-- you can see here it's a print source-- I've again given just a brief overview of what happened in the particular chapter that I cite.

Then I combine, giving an overview of concepts covered in the chapter, with notes that will be really helpful for me as I proceed in drafting my research essay. For example, we have the concept of transferability and the page number. And then I give a little sentence about how this concept applies to my research. And this sentence elaborates on that concept.

Then I go back to the information from the chapter. And I say, we have the concepts of avoidance, information structure, thinking for speaking. And then again I'd say these can contribute to classroom learning, which is the focus of my essay.

Then I sort of broaden the scope of how this can be applied to my research, in saying that it could be useful for ESL classrooms. And here's where I really zoom in on how I can use it in my classroom because I connect ESL to my Latin classroom and give a few sentences at the end that explain applications for this that I can discuss in my essay. You can see how these annotated bibliography entries can save you a lot of time and help you continuously modify and hone the way that you're thinking about your research topic, by connecting the source information to your thinking about your topic.

In today's lesson, we discussed how to make an annotated bibliography in APA format. We began by looking at what goes into an annotated bibliography, which consists of two components, both the citation and the annotation. Then we zoomed in and took a look at what a citation looks at and APA formatting and talked about how an annotation should summarize and respond to the text in your own.

Finally, we looked at a sample annotated bibliography and talked about some tips for creating your own, such as recording citations and annotations as you take notes to help yourself stay organized and save time and including notes on how the source fits into your research, as well as notes about the thesis of the text and maybe some page numbers for key topics or quotes to help you not only in the process of writing your research essay, but to also assist other researchers in navigating your work in the future I hope that this lesson was helpful today. Thank you very much for joining me.

Terms to Know
Annotated Bibliography

A list of sources that includes their bibliographic data as well as brief, relevant notes about each one.


A list of sources, including their bibliographic data.