Getting Your APSA Annotated Bibliography Correct

An annotated bibliography is something that can be done in its own right or more often as part of a wider research paper that you are writing. It is a list of all of the various sources that you have used along with an annotation that will summarize and assess the source. An American Political Science Association APSA annotated bibliography will follow the specific formatting requirements of this style.

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?

The APSA style is very much based around the Chicago style of writing and is aimed at providing an easy way of referencing documents produced by the US government. Writing a paper using the style or bibliography annotation maker will require you to meet its strict requirements in a consistent manner throughout. Failing to do it correctly can lead to your paper being simply rejected at later stages within your education.

creating APSA Annotated Bibliography

The annotation side of your bibliography must be done according to the requirements of your supervisor. They will let you know what the expectation is for the length of the annotation which may be just 150 words or it could be much longer if you are expected to do a longer evaluation of each source. Again it is vital that you follow the instructions that you receive to the letter.


NLM annotated bibliography short guide is here!


Writing Your Annotated Bibliography APSA Style

It is very important if you want your paper to get the results that you are seeking that you prepare yourself fully before you even start to do your research. You will need to collect comprehensive notes on the sources that you review so that you will be able to write your bibliography without having to run back to each one to get additional information for your writing. The following guidance will help with your APSA bib:

  • APSA Annotated Bibliography SampleEnsure that you fully understand exactly what information you need to collect for your citations such as the name of the authors, book or publication name, publisher, date, etc.
  • Have a clear idea of what you need to research, you have to have a clear thesis or research question to direct your search.
  • Search for relevant and also reliable sources of information. While the internet is easy to search it is not always reliable with regards to the information that you find. Use a scholarly search engine when seeking information and stick to websites that are hosted as educational or government-based sites.
  • Keep comprehensive notes of the sources that you look at; you will need to fully understand exactly what your annotation requires so clarify fully with your supervisor.
  • For a summary of the sources that you are reviewing you will need to consider:
    • What the argument is that the source is making
    • What methods they used to get to their conclusions
    • What conclusions they actually made
  • The evaluation of the source will have to consider:
    • Whether the authors are experts in the field in question and what else they have published
    • Who the writing was aimed at
    • Whether there was any clear bias in the writing
    • If there are any errors or omissions in their argument
    • The relevance of this source to your overall research
    • A comparison to the other sources you are citing
  • Writing your annotation shortly after you have read the source will help you to keep things clear in your head, although you may need to make revisions later as you learn more through other sources.
  • Your writing is very important, any errors in format, spelling, and grammar can cause significant issues so you must proofread your work thoroughly and not just rely on your spell checker on the computer.

Some additional advice on your annotation from Cite Write:

“If the source is reporting on empirical data, describe the research methods and summarize the results. Give an overview of the general design of the study, e.g. survey, interview; the participants and any limitations of the study, e.g. sample size or geographic area. e.g. “This article presents findings from a study into the use of social network sites for educational purposes. Surveys were conducted with 300 students to evaluate whether this medium is an appropriate way to disseminate unit assessment requirements and support information. The participants in the sample were aged between 18 and 50, included 120 males and130 females and were a mixture of domestic and international students””

APSA Annotated Bibliography Samples

The following are some examples of how you should cite the different sources within your bibliography in APSA style:

To cite a book with one author:

Smith, Oswald. Making Your Writing Count. Cambridge, England: University Press, 2003.

Place the annotation for your source under the citation indented.

If there are more than one author; note the surname comes first only with the first author:

Smith, Oswald C., Jane Smith, and John Doe. Good Writing. Perth, WA: University of Perth, 2012.

You place your written annotation here.

To cite a Journal Article:

Smith, Oswald C. “Make No Mistakes.” Writing for profit 68, no. 4 (2011): 139-145.

An evaluation will then be placed here.

Getting your APSA annotated bibliography correct is not always easy, our specialized services can provide you with all of the support that you may need if you are having issues with your writing.