What is an annotated bibliography?
A bibliography is a list of the sources used in researching a topic. There are a number of ways you can format a bibliography and this always depends on the bibliographic style you are using (or have been instructed to use by your professor) in formatting your work. Some of the most common bibliographic styles used are the MLA Style (Modern Language Association Style), and the APA Style (American Psychological Association Style) though there are many, many others.
An annotation is a summary and an evaluation.
Therefore, an annotated bibliographic includes a properly constructed list of the resources you have used – one which correctly follows the style (MLA or APA) and that also includes a summary and an evaluation which appear directly below each resource being described.
The requirements for your annotations (summary and evaluation) will vary depending on what your instructor would like them to accomplish. For example, sometimes a professor may want the annotation to evaluate the resource. Other times, you may be asked you to include information on why that particular item is useful to you – this means that they you are required to reflect on its value in supporting your project, paper, or thesis claim.
For a thorough discussion on Annotated Bibliographies and their value to you in your work see Purdue's OWL - Annotated Bibliography page.
Please remember that when you are creating an annotated bibliography you should always speak to your professor and make notes on the specific elements of analysis your annotations should include.
Sample APA Annotated Bibliography (Bethel College)