Free Annotated Bibliography Templates in APA Style

free annotated bibliographyThe APA formatting style is widely used to cite sources in the social sciences. The APA Citation Guide was recently revised, which means that before citing a source (references and in-text citations), students must consult the 6th edition of the American Psychological Association manual. The format becomes particularly challenging when students are asked to include annotated bibliography in APA in their paper. To make things easier, we’ve created a free template meant to help you understand the format and master the style.

An annotation is a brief summary of a book, article, website, document or any other publication type. Its purpose is to provide sufficient information to the reader and persuade them to keep reading the whole essay, thesis or dissertation. It is also a well-crafted list of sources similar to a reference list. Each reference is accompanied by a short paragraph explaining why that source was included in the paper and how it can add value to the paper.

Descriptive/Informative Annotated Bibliography in APA

Informative or descriptive annotated bibliographies sum up or describe the source used, whether it is a book, website, journal, etc. In APA, an annotated bibliography should resemble the following template:

Breeding evil. (2007, August 7). Economist, 380 (8439), 10. Taken from

In this article taken from the Economist, the author describes what controversy surrounds the video gaming niche, and the way it affects people that play them. The article highlights that the most gaming critics are in their 40’s, and that this is the main reason generations can’t understand one another. The controversy will eventually die out, as today’s youngsters grow older. The article assesses the way people see video games from a general perspective and was written for a general audience.

The last sentence of the annotated bibliography is particularly important. Even though it points out features that are distinctive, it doesn’t assess the author’s conclusions.

Critical/Analytical Annotated Bibliography in APA

A critical annotated bibliography analyzes the work cited, and permits the student to add a personal opinion, explaining why the book was used and how the arguments can back up the claims in the paper.

Tracy, B. (2006, July 16).The psychology of selling. Thomas Nelson.

In his book, Brian Tracy offers readers a series of strategies, ideas, techniques and methods that can be implemented to increase sales. Consumers don’t hate salespeople; they hate salespeople who can’t advertise their products. “The psychology of selling” provides readers with a mindset. It’s up to them whether to implement that mindset and fix their selling issue or not.

Rules to Abide by

The following formatting rules apply when writing annotated bibliography in APA:

  • Reference list and text must be double-spaced.
  • The numbering begins on the title page (top right).
  • Hanging indent for the reference list (in Word, you must click Format>Paragraph>Special>Hanging).
  • All around margins (right, left, top and bottom) – 1 inch.
  • Fonts allowed: Times New Roman or Sherif.
  • Paragraphs must be indented.

When writing annotated bibliography in APA, you might want to use the Free Citation Generator. The tool is excellent at helping student cite source correctly without having them check the APA manual every 5 minutes for guidance.

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