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OASIS Writing Skills

Common Assignments:

This guide includes tips on writing common course assignments.


General Format

The format of an annotated bibliography can change depending on the assignment, but the typical format is a list of reference entries (see reference list) with each entry followed by an annotation. However, be sure to ask your instructor for any course-specific requirements that may vary from the general format.

Your annotated bibliography as a whole should follow these guidelines in formatting:

  • Alphabetized by author. Just as you would in a reference list, be sure to put your sources in alphabetical order by the authors' last names.
  • No headings. Because you will be discussing one reference at a time, there is no need for headings between sources or paragraphs.
  • Brief. Annotations are usually one to three paragraphs. Remember, this is an annotated bibliography, not a research paper. Try to keep your annotations concise and clear.

Annotation Format

Each reference on your list should have an annotation that includes a summary, a critique or analysis, and an application. Annotations are often formatted in three paragraphs to ensure that the writer includes all three sections.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind as you write each annotation:

  • No citations. You do not need to use citations within an annotation because the source of your information is clear (and listed above your annotation). Also, because each annotation is specific to only one source, you should not refer to any other sources in the annotation.
  • No direct quotations. Because annotations give your summary, analysis, and application, there is no need for you to use direct quotations. An annotation is meant to be your own interpretation of the information.
  • No reference list. Because your sources are already listed in reference format, there is no need for an additional list; it would be redundant.
  • Follow APA style guidelines for writing style and grammar, bias-free language, and mechanics of style. In general, follow APA style guidelines on scholarly voice. Your faculty may specify additional guidelines to follow for the content and writing of the annotations.

Like all Walden assignments, annotated bibliographies should be doubled-spaced, in Times New Roman font, and use appropriate reference list formatting (including hanging indents) for the source information. 

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