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APA Annotated Bibliography

This guide will walk you step-by-step through the process of creating an annotated bibliography in APA 7th edition format.

Getting Started

Read the information provided on each page, then complete the review questions at the bottom to check your understanding and see where you need to review further. If you have any questions along the way, you can ask a librarian for help!

Pieces of the Puzzle

random puzzle pieces behind the phrase "One piece at a time..."

You can think of an annotated bibliography as a completed puzzle. Some pieces are citations, and some are annotations. When you put them all together in the correct order, you end up with an annotated bibliography. 

puzzle piece labeled citation


A citation provides basic information about a source that has been summarized, quoted, or paraphrased in a paper or project.

Depending on the type of source being cited, you will need to include things like:

  • Author(s)
  • Title of the work
  • Date of publication
  • Publication information (for books)
  • Volume and issue numbers (for articles) 
  • Page numbers
  • URL (for internet sources)


A bibliography is a list of the cited sources (citations) you want to use (or have used) to find information for a writing assignment. In APA format, the bibliography is known as the references list.

two puzzle pieces labeled "citation"

puzzle piece labeled "annotation"


An annotation is typically a concise summary and/or evaluation of the source. The annotation can range anywhere from one to two paragraphs (or more) depending on the format specified by your instructor.

Carefully read the assignment given by your instructor so that you know exactly what information they would like included in the annotation.


Citations + Annotations = Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations along with their annotations combined into one document. 

citation and annotation puzzle pieces combined to form an annotated bibliography

Why create an annotated bibliography?

Instructors often assign annotated bibliographies as a means of helping students think through the quality and usefulness of each of the sources they want to use in their project. 


Check your understanding by answering these review questions. If you get one wrong, read back through the material and try again!