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How to Write an Annotated
Bibliography (MLA FORMAT)
An annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources, each of which is followed by a brief
note or “annotation.” The annotations can serve different purposes depending on the type of
assignment, the audience for whom you are writing, or the purpose for which you are writing.
1. Describe the content and focus of the source
2. Suggest the source’s usefulness to your research
3. Evaluate its method, conclusions, or reliability
4. Record your reactions to the source
5. Show your instructor the thoroughness of your research
An annotated bibliography has two portions: the citation and the summary. The first portion of
the bibliography is the citation. You will follow MLA format. The second portion of the
bibliographic entry is the summary. A summary (written in two complete sentences) tells the
main idea of the source and evaluates the credibility of the source. Use present tense. Place the
entries in alphabetical order according to MLA format.
SAMPLE ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY ENTRY
Harbord, Janet. The Evolution of Film: Rethinking Film Studies. Cambridge: Polity, 2007. Print.
A synthesis of classic film theory and an examination of the contemporary situation of
film studies that draws on recent scholarship in philosophy, anthropology, and media
MLA. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: MLA, 2009.Print.
Revised July 2009