A sample annotated bibliography example in APA 7th edition

Annotated bibliographies can end up making your life easier by making your writing better. If you read and read but the one thing that you don’t do is read as if each idea has to be examined carefully and retained, all your hard work will be in vain. There is no such thing as shortcuts to quality essays, so the more you ignore the need to engage in some long-overdue active reading, the farther an impactful essay gets from you.

Annotations are an easy way to retain all the information that each source provides. It lets you know what it is that the source stands up for and all the points that it makes. Each source is like a gem in your vast collection of valuables. The value will be lost if you lose track of what you read.

Legit Sources Make the Best Foundations…

The first thing that an essay writer needs to do is to ensure that the sources are legit. You know the drill. Don’t include the ones that are not authentic or questionable. Use only peer-reviewed scholarly articles that can make your content rest on solid foundations.

A Regular Reference List…

After you have gotten your reference material straight, formulate a reference list for all the sources that you think you will be citing in your essay. You don’t have to worry. You can include different references and exclude some pre-existing ones when you write your college essay. The list has to follow all the APA 7th edition requirements.

It goes something like this:

The Basic Format…

The author’s last name, followed by initials of the middle and first names. The year of publication comes up after the names. It precedes the title of the study that you are referring to. Next, you need to mention the name of the publication that contains your referred article. Make sure that you add the information regarding volume number and the serial number of this particular issue of the said publication (the issue number being in parenthesis right after the volume).

All the categories have to be separated by a period.

Each article has its unique DOI number if it has been retrieved online. You need to mention this number or the link from which this article has been retrieved.

After all your references have followed this basic model, you can move on to the next step of writing annotations for each of these entries.

Your annotation may look something like this if you are writing a reference for J.K. Rowling’s novel, The Casual Vacancy:

Rowling, J. K. (2012). The Casual Vacancy.


The all-time favorite author has tried her hand at a different kind of fiction that engages themes of death, disappointment, and the transcendence of human experiences. Through the main plot that focuses on a council eat leftover by Barry Fairbrother, the story tries to make sense of the power struggle that starts to reflect the cracks in a seemingly tranquil and unremarkable town. This is a book that attempts to map the complexity of human emotions. This is story-telling and its best.

Extract the Details While You Read...

While you read, you have to comb through the content and search for all the ideas that you will include in your summary of this particular reading. The summary will serve as a short ID of your article in terms of its content. You will remember the said article by this paraphrasing of relevant information.

Assess the Source…

A lot of what you have to write in the annotation is determined as you read. So, while you read, critically analyze your referenced material. Know all the strengths and weaknesses that you see in these narratives. After the summary, it is these strengths and weaknesses that you need to delineate.

Personal Connection…

The last few lines have to be related to your personal experience of reading and connecting with the readings. Do you think what you have read can help you with your college essay/paper? If yes, how do you think it can guide you? How is it relevant to what you want to write and why? Answer these questions and you are good to go.


Bear in mind that the annotated entry must comprise 100-150 words. They cannot be too short that some major chunk of information gets lost. Neither can they be too lengthy and cumbersome.

Reread and edit. Add anything that you may have left out while eliminating the excesses. You cannot be too careful when it comes to the need for brevity.

Some Dos and Don’ts

Although the usual length of each annotation is as mentioned above, you can be required to write more or less as per your particular requirements.

While you write, you need to make sure that you don’t just end up repeating bits and pieces of content from your readings. You have to go one step further and engage in assessing, evaluating, and reflecting upon the source materials.

Keep the summaries, analysis and reflections proportioned just the right way to not throw each other out of balance. There must be approximately an equal number of lines for each of these.

There is no such thing as perfection. There is always room for improvement and one annotated bibliography example can possibly leave many questions unaddressed. If you need further assistance, get yourself connected to an online essay writing service that offers professional help to a number of students 24/7.

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