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Annotated Bibliography Guide

Student resource guide on the structure, layout, and importance of an annotated bibliography.


Annotated bibliographies should always be:

  • primarily composed of the researcher's own writing.
  • concise and to the point. The purpose of the summary and analysis to restate an article's its general outline and argument. 
  • analytically strong. They must show the reader an understanding of the cited work, and analyze the work's strengths and weaknesses, on its own and for a project.


The individual annotated bibliography entry should align with the following structure.

  • Complete bibliographic citation using appropriate manual of style.
  • Two or three sentences concisely summarizing the article.
  • A sentence or two analyzing the independent strength or authority of the article.
  • Two or three sentences detailing the article's relevance to the research project.

Each bibliographic entry should, excluding the citation itself, be only between 150-200 words. It should be a dense, readable paragraph.

Formatting Reminders

Some key formatting tips for annotated bibliographies include:

  • Use a consistent citation style.
  • List entries in alphabetical order.
  • Avoid quoting cited work.
  • Indent each citation
  • Double space each bibliographic entry.

Example Annotated Bibliographic Entry

Entry generated by Research and Technology Fellow Elan M. Goldman.

The following example annotated bibliography entry is cited in the Chicago Manuel of Style:

"Ahmed, Sara. "A phenomenology of whiteness." Feminist theory 8, no. 2 (2007): 149-168.

In “A Phenomenology of whiteness,” Ahmed, inspired by Frantz Fanon's description of his experience of ontological and phenomenological suffering in a white world, attempts to propose a framework for describing the modes by which witness functions in the world, and how whiteness becomes “worldly.” Whiteness, according to Ahmed, can be considered the product of an orientation in that it constitutes a specific manner of existing in the world as it has been shaped by race and European colonialism. Ahmed’s theory utilizes both orthodox European phenomenologists (Husserl) and decolonial philosophers (like Fanon) to weave a nuanced and compelling analysis of whiteness. Within the scope of my project, Ahmed’s attention to history as a matter of inheritance and orientation provides useful language when attempting to analyze contemporary settler colonial subjectivities. Ahmed’s framework, paired with Moreton Robinson’s analysis of possession as a settler colonial construct, provides strong grounds for my argument that property relations structure and shape settler subjectivities."