Skip to Main Content

VAHI 111: History of Global Architecture I (Stein)

Writing an Annotated Bibliography

Writing an Annotated Bibliography:

The most important thing to remember when writing any type of Annotated Bibliography or Literature review is that research and scholarship is at its core a conversation. Scholarly books, articles, and journals combine to create an ongoing knowledge base on different topics, and as such they all must address the existing knowledge on a topic before contributing their own take aways. 

Your annotated bibliography addresses the existing body of research on your topic and how it may support or challenge your own research. This is your way of acknowledging what knowledge base exists on your topic before you try and contribute to it with your own work.


Entries in your annotated bibliography should include:

  1.  The full citation for the resource in the appropriate style for your field of study. 
  2. An annotation on what the resource is and how you intend to use it.

Each annotation should analyze and evaluate, not just summarize, the resource you read.

 Annotations should reflect your own experience with a source – don’t rely on reviews or summaries. 

 Your annotations should address such areas as:

  1. Arguments (what is the author arguing? do they do it well?);
  2. Comparisons between this source and other sources you are annotating;
  3. The relevance or usefulness of each source for your topic, and/or
  4. Other information about the source that struck you as particularly notable or useful. 

Ideally, you should aim to cover at least a couple of these points and have ~150 words in each annotation. 

Make sure that your bibliography is in the correct style. This means that

  1. Your citations should follow the standard style for each source, according to whatever style manual you are using (MLA, Chicago, etc.); 
  2. Each entry should be correctly formatted: with any second line of the citation and your annotations indented, in alphabetical order, and double-spaced if your style manual calls for it. 


Annotated Bibliography Handouts:

Handouts with guidelines for writing an annotated bibliography in various styles, plus sample bibliographies: 

Other Resources: