Annotated bibliography

In some situations, for example when writing a degree project, you may be asked to put together an annotated bibliography. This is usually done at an early stage, when you are collecting material for your project and reading up on previous research. Annotated bibliographies have several functions in the writing and research process:

  • Putting together an annotated bibliography helps you get an overview of your sources
  • An annotated bibliography will help your supervisor see whether you have a good overview of the subject
  • Annotated bibliographies can also work as a kind of journal of your reading and understanding of the subject 

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography lists the sources you have read for your project together with your own comments on their contents and relevance for your project. It is also common to add some indication of how you plan to use them in your project. Although annotated bibliographies will look different in different disciplines, they often feature the following elements:

What to include:How to write:
Bibliographic information

Write a full bibliographic reference in the
reference style that you will use for your

Descriptive commentSum up the contents of the article / text in
your own words. Also comment on whether
the source is representative for the field and
if / how it differs from other sources on the 
same or similar subjects.
Evaluative commentIn your own words, comment on the quality
/ value of each source. Note that although
this part is very useful for you during your
writing, it is not always appropriate to
include such evaluations in your project text.
Suggested use in the projectAdd a reflection on how you think you will
be able to use the source in your project.
This is something you may have reason to
come back to and revise at a later stage.


    Advice to writers of annotated bibliographies

    Read your sources closely

    Your annotations - the entries in your annotated bibliography - will rely on how well you have read and understood the source texts you use. In order to read efficiently, you need good reading strategies. See

    An annotation is not an abstract

    Although annotations are short and sum up essential aspects of articles, for instance, they are not the same thing as abstracts. An abstract is a short text you write summing up your degree project or an article. For information about abstract writing, see

    Avoid plagiarism/patchwriting

    As you sum up a text, make sure you know how to paraphrase correctly. See


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