How to Format an Annotated Bibliography in APA

An annotated bibliography helps your instructor evaluate your sources.
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An annotated bibliography is an academic document that is submitted in preparation for a research paper so that your instructor can evaluate your sources. It is similar to a references page, but each citation is followed by three paragraphs that summarize, evaluate and link the source to your research. An American Psychological Association-style annotated bibliography is the same in format as MLA and Chicago styles, but the citations are in APA format. Following APA guidelines, format the entire document double-spaced, with 1-inch margins and 12-point Times New Roman font.

1 Citation Format

Begin each annotation with a proper APA citation of the source. For a journal article, include the author's last name and first name initial, publication year, article title in sentence case, journal title in title case and italics, volume number in italics, issue number in parentheses and page numbers. Double-space the citation and indent all lines after the first, for example:

Keightley, K. (1996). “Turn it down!” She shrieked: Gender, domestic space, and high-fidelity, 1948-59. Popular Music, 15(2), 149-177.

If you have retrieved the article from an online database, include the DOI address after the page numbers like this:

Keightley, K. (1996). “Turn it down!” She shrieked: Gender, domestic space, and high-fidelity, 1948-59. Popular Music, 15(2), 149-177.

2 Article Summary

Summarize the article in the first paragraph of your annotation. In the summary, address the main themes of the article and its purpose. The summary, and two following sections, should each be one paragraph long, approximately four to six sentences and be indented one-half inch. A summary paragraph may start like this:

In the article, Keightley examines the way women and domestic tensions between men and women contributed to the development and popularity of hi-fi technology in the 1940s and 1950s. Keightley used a variety of articles and advertisements from well-known technology magazines to support his arguments.

3 Article Evaluation

Evaluate the article, addressing its strengths and weaknesses, in the second paragraph of your annotation. In terms of strengths and weaknesses, mention the writer's research method, organization of information, biases and contradictions. For example:

Keightley's historical research provided a strong argument that hi-fi technology was used as a way for men to isolate themselves from their wives and the perceived feminization of the household. However, Keightley did not address the reason why some audio companies did market their products to women, which is apparent in some hi-fi advertisements from that era. This suggests that there was a market for it, even though Keightley claimed that women "hated" the technology.

4 Research Applicability

Discuss the article in context of your research in the third paragraph. Discuss how it is relevant to and can be applied to the topic of your essay. For example, the paragraph may look like this:

Keightley's article is relevant to the current research, which is about the representation of gender in technology advertisements, as it shows that the phenomenon is not new. In hi-fi advertisements, women were rarely featured. If they were featured, the woman was portrayed as a nuisance, while the man blasted his hi-fi system and blocked her out. This is similar to the way noise-canceling headphones are marketed in contemporary times, as a means of escapism for men.

Based in Gatineau, Canada, Kat Walcott has been writing entertainment and informative articles since 2008. Her work has appeared in major publications including Her Campus, Equals6 and Uppercase. She holds an honors diploma in social science from Heritage College and is currently majoring in communication studies and minoring in sexuality studies.