An annotated bibliography is a list of resources on a certain topic with a description of each resource.

Each entry in an annotated bibliography should include all the information you would normally include in a list of works cited. For example, for a book you would include the title, author, publisher, place of publication, and year of publication. Be sure to use the appropriate bibliographic format (e.g., MLA, APA, Chicago) required by your professor.

The bibliographic information is followed by an annotation, which can be just a few sentences or a paragraph and often both describes and evaluates the contents of the item. If you have questions about how detailed or evaluative your annotations should be, consult your professor.

When describing a source for an annotation, try to summarize the author’s main argument in a sentence or two. Then explain in another sentence or two what this argument will contribute to your paper. Ideally this will be unique—something that’s not provided by the other sources in your bibliography.


Here’s an example of an entry in an annotated bibliography in Chicago Notes and Bibliography Style:

Turkoglu, Oguzhan. “Supporting Rebels and Hosting Refugees: Explaining the Variation in Refugee Flows in Civil Conflicts.” Journal of Peace Research 59, no. 2 (March 2022): 136–49.

Turkoglu analyzes data on refugee flows from civil conflicts to argue that more refugees are hosted by countries that support rebel groups involved in the conflict. He posits that accepting refugees is a way of supporting the rebels and having an impact on the conflict’s outcome. I will use Turkoglu’s thesis as one explanation for the uneven level of accommodation for Syrian refugees among Middle Eastern countries.