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Bibliographies (References)

A bibliography is an alphabetized list of sources that one is using or has used for a research document. Depending on the format system an instructor recommends, the bibliography will be called a bibliography, reference page, or works cited. In an annotated bibliography, each entry contains an annotation, which is a short synopsis of the content of that particular entry (book, article, etc.).

An example of an annotated bibliography entry in the American Psychological Association (APA) format is:

Knudson, R., Zitzer-Comfort, C., Quirk, M., & Alexander, P. (2008, May/June). The California State University early assessment program. Clearing House, 81(5), 227-231. Retrieved from EBSCOhost database.

This article examines the high percentage (46%) of incoming freshmen at California State University (CSU) who need remedial English classes. The university developed a program to assess the English reading and writing skills of high school juniors. Students who scored poorly were enrolled in a remedial course in their senior year of high school. The study found that the students who took the course, Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC), fared better than students who took standard high school senior English courses. (Calvano, 2011)

The second and subsequent lines of a bibliographic entry are indented. The bibliographic or reference entry is the first section that includes the specific article information. The annotation is the explanation afterward and is indented further. An annotated bibliography is very useful for the researcher who is using multiple sources. He or she can easily scan the annotations to find the article they want to use in a given section of the research paper.

Bibliographic entries must be written in the in the format (APA, MLA, etc.) that the instructor has suggested. Software exits that will format the bibliographic entry, but caution must be observed. Software sometimes contains glitches that prevent the finished format from being correct. The writer should purchase the manual (APA, MLA) and learn as much as possible about that format for the best results.

Examples of APA and MLA formatted bibliographic entries are:

The formats are very different, so the researcher must carefully follow the prescribed guidelines set forth by his or her instructor. Bibliographies may be time-consuming at first, but they are not difficult. A well-constructed bibliography will end a well-developed research paper.


Calvano, B. (2011). Annotated bibliography. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, LDR/711 Leadership Theory and Practice website.

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