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PS 337: Psych Tests and Measurements: What is an Annotated Bibliography?

This guide provides resources for your assignments and research in PS337.

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

Definition:  A bibliography is usually thought of as an alphabetical listing of books at the end of a written work (book, book chapter, or article), to which the author referred during the research and writing process. The standard bibliography details the citation information of the consulted sources: author(s), date of publication, title, and publisher's name and location (and for articles: journal title, volume, issue and page numbers). The primary function of bibliographic citations is to assist the reader in finding the sources used in the writing of a work.

To these basic citations, the annotated bibliography adds descriptive and evaluative comments (i.e., an annotation), assessing the nature and value of the cited works. The addition of commentary provides the future reader or researcher essential critical information and a foundation for further research.


Depending on the assignment, the primary purpose of an annotated bibligraphy might have different purposes:

  • provide a literature review on a particular subject
  • help formulate a thesis on a subject
  • demonstrate the quality of research that you have done
  • show that you understand each source cited
  • provide examples of the types of sources available
  • describe other items on a topic that may be of interest to the reader
  • explore the subject for further research

    Annotated Bibliography Video Tutorial

    The Citation

    When creating an annotated bibliography you will need to know how to locate scholarly resources and how to properly cite the sources you find. The citations (bibliographic information - title, date, author, publisher, etc.) in the annotated bibliography are formatted using the particular style manual (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) that your discipline requires.

    First, locate relevant sources:

    1. Develop a research question and thesis, and come up with search terms (keywords).
    2. Using the library website (OneSearch) locate citations to books, periodicals, and documents that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic.
    3. Briefly examine and review the actual items (learn about how to critically analyze information). Then choose those works that provide a variety of perspectives on your topic.
    4. Read the items that are most appropriate.
    5. Cite the book, article, or document using the appropriate style.