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Annotated Bibliographies: Steps in writing annotations

Learn how to find and organise the most relevant, most useful and most up-to-date sources for your topic

Writing the annotations

For each selection, write a summary and a critique of the source. First, summarise the main ideas of the content in your own words. Think about what the main arguments are, the topics covered, and the point the author is making. Next, evaluate the reliability and credibility of the source and assess the usefulness of the content. Consider these questions:

  • Is the author reliable? What qualifications do they have?
  • Is the resource peer reviewed? Is the author using sufficient evidence to support their point?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of this resource?
  • Is the author biased towards a particular point of view?
  • How old is the resource? Is the information still relevant or is there new information available? 
  • How does the resource compare with other works on the same topic? Can you find similar information from another source?
  • What does the resource add to your understanding of the topic? How will you use it in your own research?

Check out the JCU Learning Centre’s Annotated bibliography help for more information.


Sort your chosen resources into a logical order (such as alphabetically, informationally, or chronologically). The first part of an annotated bibliography entry is a correctly formatted full citation. Use the proper form of citations for the referencing style required (e.g. APA, Harvard, MLA) and be consistent. Position your summary and evaluation of the resource underneath the citation. Ask InfoHelp if you are unsure about the bibliographical format for an item. 

Tip: See our Referencing styles guide for help with citation styles. Check out Style sheets and Examples of styles/annotations for referencing books and models.

Where to get help

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