What Is an APA Annotated Bibliography?

Instructors nowadays require students to submit an annotated bibliography, APA or otherwise to ensure that students are doing their part in the research process.  While most consider writing an APA annotated bibliography as a waste of time, it is not the case. An APA annotated bibliography is actually a bibliography where you include the list of the sources you will use in your paper. Each source has an annotation whereby you evaluate, discuss, and describe its relevance in your research. To be able to know what it looks like, consider the sample annotated bibliography APA below.

How an Annotated Bibliography Is Created
  • search for relevant sources3 min / source
  • skim through the referencefrom 7 min / source
  • read info about the authorfrom 4 min / source
  • write an annotationfrom 6 min / source
  • format the referencefrom 2 min / source
Are you sure you want to waste over 20 minutes of your life on bibliography?

Li, W., & Chan, H. S. (2008). Clean Air in Urban China: The Case of Inter-agency Coordination in ChongQing’s Blue Sky Program. City University of Hong Kong, Department of Public and Social Administration. Taiwan: Tunghai University.

Environmental concerns are increasingly becoming popular because of climate change. There are many instances where state-intervention is required to battle pollution and its negative effects. With a large country like China where the demand for institutional capacity is greater than the supply, how can it deal with pollution? The article suggests that China must employ inter-agency coordinating mechanisms to enforce environmental programs such as the Chongqing Blue Sky Program.

Marmot, M. (2005). Social Determinants of Health Inequalities. Lancet, 365(1), 1099-1104.

The article talks about gross inequalities with regards to health within and between different countries of the world. According to the author, the inequalities are attributed to several social factors such as poverty and social inequality. Since the health factors are also social, there are available remedies to it such as better social policies. Health is not just a medical concern but a social concern. For this research, the article is of great help because it provides the other side to the health problems in other parts of the world. It is possible that diseases attack equally but the attention given to battle such diseases are not equal, thereby increasing health risks and mortality rates for others.


Merritt, R. (1972). Divided Berlin: One Past and Three Futures. Journal of Peace Research, 9(4), 331-344.

In the studies of integration and disintegration of states, the case of Germany is one good example for the advantages, disadvantages, and implications. The article provides a historical as well as a political account of Berlin during the Cold War and what brought about the division. Although it is a material written before the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is an important source because as early as 1970s, political scientists already predicted several outcomes that would ensue.


Annotated Bibliography APA Format

As seen from the APA annotated bibliography sample in the preceding section, there are two components of an annotated bibliography—the citation and the annotation. The citation should follow the APA guidelines and the annotation must contain the main ideas of the source and your evaluation of the material. Usually, an annotated bibliography in APA would be 100-300 words but it could be more than that depending on how you evaluate each material.

Look at the APA annotated bibliography example once again. You can see that each reference is the same as in the reference list of your paper, all in accordance with the APA manual. The citation and annotation should be in double space. Lastly, the annotation should be written in paragraph form and not bullets. Use free annotated bibliography generator to help you with all this tasks.

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