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APA Style

Annotated Bibliography Template

The APA Publication Manual does not include an annotated bibliography format. We have included here a template for an annotated bibliography that uses an APA formatted title page and reference entry. It includes APA formatted margins, page numbers, and font style & size. Your professor may have different requirements for your assignment, so be sure to check in Canvas before using this format.

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a bibliography or list of articles and books that includes comments about each source. These comments are called annotations. Included in an annotation is both a summary of the work and an evaluation of the quality of the work and it's usefulness to someone researching the topic. This is different from an article abstract which is a summary of a work intended to help a researcher decide if they want read the full article. 

Steps to Creating an Annotated Bibliography

  1. Find sources related to your topic (check with your instructor to confirm which types of sources are acceptable for the assignment)
  2. Critically read and evaluate sources
  3. Create the proper APA citation
  4. Below the citation, write your annotation


An annotation (found below each citation) typically includes*:

  • An evaluation of the work - the value of the evidence, the logic of arguments, etc.
  • A description of the arguments or findings in the source
  • The qualifications/credibility of the author(s) or publishing source
  • How the source will support your argument or thesis

*Check with your instructors to confirm what information they require in an annotation. 


The following example uses the APA format for a journal citation.

Brien, F., Simons-Morton, B., Chaurasia, A., Luk, J., Haynie, D., & Liu, D. (2018). Post-high school changes in tobacco and cannabis use in the United States. Substance Use & Misuse, 53(1), 26–35. 
The researchers use data from the NEXT Generation Health Study (NEXT) to examine how different social and environmental factors impact the use of tobacco and cannabis by recent high school graduates. Based on longitudinal analysis, the study finds that tobacco and cannabis use is strongly associated with previous use. The researchers also found that college students are less likely to use tobacco when compared to non-students. The researchers suggest that anti-smoking campaigns and university policies reduce cigarette use by college students.