Annotated Bibliography

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    American Psychological Association (APA) Annotations

    Creating an annotated bibliography in APA style

    The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 7th edition (APA Manual) is kept behind the iDesk on the First Floor.

    This example is based on the APA style guide, but your instructor might give you other formatting instructions

    General guidelines

    Some annotations are merely descriptive, summarizing the authors' qualifications, research methods, and arguments. 

    Many annotations evaluate the quality of scholarship in a book or article.  You might want to consider the logic of authors' arguments, and the quality of their evidence.  Your findings can be positive, negative, or mixed.

    Your professor might also want you to explain why the source is relevant to your assignment. 


    Sample Page: APA-formatted annotated bibliography


                       Child Poverty in Canada                 2


    Battle, K. (2007). Child poverty: The evolution and impact of child benefits. In Covell, K., & Howe, R. B. (Eds), A question of commitment: Children's rights in Canada (pp. 21-44). Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

                Ken Battle draws on his research as an extensively-published policy analyst, and a close study of some government documents, to explain child benefits in Canada.  He outlines some fundamental assumptions supporting the belief that all society members should contribute to the upbringing of children.  His comparison of Canadian child poverty rates to those in other countries provides a useful wake-up to anyone assuming Canadian society is doing a good job of protecting children from want.  He pays particular attention to the National Child Benefit (NCB), arguing that it did not deserve the criticism it received from politicians and journalists.  He outlines the NCB’s development, costs, and benefits, including its dollar contribution to a typical recipient’s income.  He laments that the Conservative government scaled back the program in favour of the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB), and clearly explains why it is inferior.  However, Battle relies too heavily on his own work; he is the sole or primary author of almost half the sources in his bibliography.  He could make this work stronger by drawing from the perspectives of others' analyses.  However, Battle does offer a valuable source for this essay, because the chapter provides a concise overview of government-funded assistance currently available to parents. This offers context for analyzing the scope and financial reality of child poverty in Canada.

    Kerr, D., & Beaujot, R. (2003). Child poverty and family structure in Canada, 1981-1997. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 34(3), 321-335.

                Sociology professors Kerr and Beaujot analyze the demographics of impoverished families.  Drawing on data from Canada’s annual Survey of Consumer Finances, the authors consider whether each family had one or two parents, the age of single parents, and the number of children in each household.  They analyze child poverty rates in light of these demographic factors, as well as larger 

    Rules! rules! rules!

    The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.) states the following formatting rules:

    • The text and the reference list should be double-spaced.
    • Numbering starts on the title page, at the top right of the page.
    • Reference list entries must have a hanging indent (to do this in Microsoft Word 2003, click Format, then Paragraph, then Special, and choose Hanging).
    • There should be 1 inch (2.54 cm) margins all around (top, bottom, left, and right) on each page.
    • Use Times Roman font, or a similar serif font.
    • Each paragraph should be indented.

    More Sample Annotations

    Cornell University Library offers these instructions on preparing an annotated bibliography.