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Understanding APA Format

If you’re writing academically, chances are you’ve been tasked with writing a paper that follows APA style. Although there’s a learning curve involved with adhering to APA style, it’s possible to learn the basics so you can turn in your assignments.

What Is APA Style?

APA is the official academic style of the American Psychological Association. This style was created in 1929 when a group of professionals worked together to devise a set of style rules for scientific writing as a means of making these documents easier to read and understand.

If an assignment indicates APA style, you will need to adhere to these style rules. These guidelines ensure that your document is consistent and uniform with elements such as punctuation, headings and subheadings, abbreviations, numbers, tables and figures and citations.

Main Sections of a Document

APA style dictates the format of the main sections of a document.

The title page includes a running head, the author’s name and the school.

The abstract is a succinct summary of the document. APA style dictates that abstracts be no more than 250 words, although some instructors give leeway regarding the length.

The main body of the document is the text of the essay or report. Some reports are divided into separate sections.

Your reference section follows the body. It includes a list of references you cited in your document.

How to Reference APA Style

In-text citations appear within the text, identifying any information you cite. APA format for in-text citations includes the author’s name and the date of the publication.

The reference page always begins on a new page with the title “References” centered at the top. Include all entries in alphabetical order, and each entry’s first line begins at the left margin, and additional lines are indented. Place titles of newspapers, magazines, journals and books in italics, and double-space the reference section.

Double-check that all of your sources appear as both in-text citations and in the reference section.

Use an APA Sample Paper

An APA style example can be helpful if you’re learning this style and trying to apply it to a writing assignment. Many schools and universities maintain resource web pages with APA samples to show students how to follow this style.

More APA Tips

If you’re struggling with creating APA citations and references, use a citation machine to check your work. You simply fill in the citation and click a button, and the tool tells you if you made any errors.

Consider hiring an academic editor to check your work after you finish writing. The editor can find and correct errors to make sure your document adheres to APA.


annotated bibliography apa word template

About APA Citation Online Tools

annotated bibliography apa word template

As anyone who has ever written a paper for a college class knows, there are certain style rules and guidelines to be followed depending on which discipline you are in. Such style rules ensure consistency in formatting and publishing and address details such as comma placement, capitalization, references and in-text citations. One of the most commonly used styles is the APA style, which is the style preferred by the American Psychological Association. APA style is style that is generally used for disciplines such as the social sciences, education and psychology.

Origins of APA Style

For many college students, learning APA style can be tricky. The specifics of the style often trip up even the best writers, since it is difficult to remember whether titles should be in italics or not, how references should be alphabetized and how to cite citations, which can vary depending upon where they appear.

According to the APA, the style originated in 1929, when a group of psychologists, anthropologists, and business managers decided to establish a simple set of procedures, or style rules, to bring uniformity to the elements of scientific writing to increase the ease of reading comprehension.

Some of the procedures they decided upon can be challenging. Plus, there are various online tools and style generators out there that can help. We’ve gathered a few of them here.

Online Citation Machines

It takes just a few clicks to find any number of reliable citation machines that help writers be sure their papers conform to APA style. In general, a citation machine website helps students and professionals properly credit the information that they use. As any good student knows, proper credits are essential to presenting a strong paper, because they cite the sources used, giving credit where credit is due and not plagiarizing.

Avoid Plagiarism at All Costs

In a reference paper, article, blog post or any other published work, writers must give credit to their sources. Failing to do so, even if you have completely reworded the information or summarized the information, is considered to be plagiarism. A good rule of thumb is to cite sources extensively, because even if you think you have an original thought, you may actually be paraphrasing something you’ve read elsewhere. It is safe to say that you cannot cite too many sources.

Citation Machine Ensures APA Conformity

Citation Machine is a free online tool that students, researchers, teachers and publishers can use to see how well their paper conforms to APA style guidelines.

The site is extremely clear about the two types of APA citations and provides a good summary. The first kind of citation is called an in-text or parenthetical citation. These citations must be included when you use information from someone else’s work in your own paper. They are used in the main body of your paper and must be placed immediately after the information you have borrowed.

The second kind of citation is a reference citation and is included with all other full citations at the end of your paper on the last page. They are alphabetical and listed one after the other. They’re the full citations for the in-text citations included in the body of your paper.

BibMe Details APA Style

BibMe is another free online citation generator for APA style. Along with citation guidelines, it spells out ways in which paper elements such as publication dates and titles should be structured. For example, publication dates should place the date that the source was published in parentheses, after the author’s name. If no date is available, you should write n.d. In parentheses, which stands for no date.

Book titles should capitalize just the first letter of the first word in the title. Do the same for the subtitle. The first letter of any proper nouns should be capitalized and italicized. Each should end with a period.

Check Every Last Detail

Learning APA style on your own can be daunting. Fortunately, you can learn more about it while making sure that paper is correct and that you properly cite each and every one of your sources by using online tools developed for this exact purpose.


annotated bibliography apa word template

Lynn University

Annotated Bibliography Template

The APA Publication Manual does not include an annotated bibliography format. We have included here a template for an annotated bibliography that uses an APA formatted title page and reference entry. It includes APA formatted margins, page numbers, and font style & size. Your professor may have different requirements for your assignment, so be sure to check in Canvas before using this format.

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of sources (bibliography) that includes comments about each source. These comments are called annotations . Annotated bibliographies are often a starting point for research papers.

Steps to Creating an Annotated Bibliography


An annotation (found below each citation) typically includes*:

*Check with your instructors to confirm what information they require in an annotation. 

The following example uses the APA format for a journal citation.

Brien, F., Simons-Morton, B., Chaurasia, A., Luk, J., Haynie, D., & Liu, D. (2018). Post-high school changes in tobacco and cannabis use in the United States.  Substance Use & Misuse, 53 (1), 26–35. 10.1080/10826084.2017.1322983   The researchers use data from the NEXT Generation Health Study (NEXT) to examine how different social and environmental factors impact the use of tobacco and cannabis by recent high school graduates. Based on longitudinal analysis, the study finds that tobacco and cannabis use is strongly associated with previous use. The researchers also found that college students are less likely to use tobacco when compared to non-students. The researchers suggest that anti-smoking campaigns and university policies reduce cigarette use by college students. 

Get Access to ALL Templates & Editors for Just $2 a month.

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7+ Annotated Bibliography Templates – Free Word & PDF Format!

You might be aware that an annotated bibliography is generally used to keep an account of all the books along with their concise description. This helps the readers to understand the real essence of a book and what it can offer. However, creating an annotated bibliography is no child’s play. It requires a lot of research into each book, its author etc. This when coupled with the task of documenting can be quite tedious. Though the research work cannot be foregone, using an annotated bibliography template can definitely help in reducing some of the work load. It is designed keeping in mind the precise reason and leaves you with the task of entering the information. You can also see Biography Templates

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How to Setup an Annotated Bibliography

Sample annotated bibliography template.

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How to Create an Annotated Bibliography in Microsoft Word

An annotated bibliography is an important part of any research document. Let's see how to create one with the help of Microsoft Word.

Sometimes, the value of scholarship is in the documents you create to prove it. Every scholar wishes not to get bogged down by paperwork. But look at it this way—the academic document advertises your credibility and the thoroughness of your research. It is also the Kevlar against plagiarism (and sometimes the cause of it).

Every academic document has its own nuts and bolts. Today, let's talk about an important one— the annotated bibliography .

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to journals, books, articles, and other documents followed by a brief paragraph. The paragraph(s) is a description of the source and how it supports your paper.

It is the one document that can make your and your professor's life easier as you end your research paper with a flourish.

The Annotated Bibliography: Let's Define It

It's important not to confuse an annotated bibliography with a regular bibliography or works cited.

A regular bibliography is simply a list of source citations. Nothing more. The screen below is an example of a regular bibliography. As you can see, it doesn't go into deeper detail about the books or sources mentioned.

An annotated bibliography has a few more parts to it. It is easy to get the idea from the meaning of the word “annotation”. According to Merriam-Webster, an annotation is:

A note added to a text, book, drawing, etc., as a comment or explanation.

Here's what a common annotated bibliography looks like. I am sure you can instantly make out the extra parts that go into framing it.

As you can see, the sample above starts with the usual bibliographic citation. Then, it includes a summary and a clear evaluation of the source you used for researching your topic. The intent behind adding your own summary and analysis after the primary or secondary source is to define the topic area and how it applies to your research. You have to add an annotation each time that you create a new source.

It is a lot of work. But this effort from you helps the reader find useful information at a glance. It tells the reader how each borrowed information has helped the progress of the paper. And, it offers everyone a window into your thinking behind the topic you have selected.

Using Word to Create an Annotated Bibliography

The easiest way to create an annotated bibliography in Microsoft Word? Use a template to save time.

But it is always better to create one from scratch and sharpen your research writing skills in the process. It is not difficult, so don't hold yourself back. You have to keep in mind the style of the documentation required for your research. There are distinguishing differences between the APA, AMA, and MLA Styles.

I am going to follow the MLA (Modern Language Association) Style and show how to create a well-formatted document in Microsoft Word in five basic steps.

1. Set Up Your Word Document . Go to Ribbon > Layout > Margins > Normal (1-inch margins on all sides).

2. Set the font. MLA recommends a serif font (e.g., Times New Roman). Go to Home > Font and choose Times New Roman and 12 pt . Also, go to the Paragraph group and choose 2.0 for double-spaced line settings.

Start the Annotated Bibliography

3. Choose the location. An annotated bibliography begins on a new page that follows the end of your research sections. Type “Annotated Bibliography” at the top and center-align it on the page. It should be capitalized and centered—not bolded or underlined.

4. Choose your sources. Research and record the information that pertains to your topic. A properly formatted citation comes first, and you have to cite your source according to the MLA Style.

The MLA citation style for a book follows this sample sequence:

Author, A.A. Write the Title of Work in Italics . Publisher City, State: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium.

Example: Smith, J. Just a Good Book That You Can Cite . New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2016. Print.

The citation is the most important part—so do follow the format religiously by following the style format guide. There are many online sources that cover the popular citation styles in more detail.

5. Indent the second line. The second line of the citation uses a hanging indent to offset half-an-inch from the left margin. Just hit enter at the end of the first line and then press the Tab key to create the hanging indent. You can also adjust it with the hanging indent marker on the ruler. So, your citation will look like this:

As you can see above, each individual citation will start flush from the 1-inch margin. But everything from the second line will be offset 0.5 inches to the right.

To set the hanging indents, you can also go to Ribbon > Paragraph > Click on the Paragraph settings arrow to display the dialog box. Under Indentation , click on Special > Hanging . By default, the hanging indent is set to 0.5 inches.

Microsoft Word does not always like to space things properly. So, you might have to tweak it by hand and indent everything from the second line onward.

Use Microsoft Word's Bibliography Tool

Microsoft Word has a built-in bibliography tool you can use to manage your citations. On the Ribbon , go to the References tab.

In the Citations & Bibliography group, click the arrow next to Style . This looks slightly different on Microsoft Word for Mac, but can be found in the same area.

Click the style that you want to use for the citation and source, e.g., MLA.

Select the location where you want to start the citation. Then, click Insert Citation .

Two options are available in the dropdown menu.

If you choose Add New Source , enter all the citation details in the Create Source box. Click OK .

You can preview the citation in the Manage Sources dialog box.

Microsoft Word also helps you manage your long list of sources. The Office Support page also explains the nitty-gritty of bibliographies.

You can also use online citation generators, though there is more value in doing it yourself. As in everything, practice makes perfect. If you are a Word newbie, take time to learn all the tricks the Office suite has up its sleeve . And remember, automatic citation apps can make bibliographies easier to write.

If you're trying to create an annotated bibliography on Windows for Mac, then you'll be relieved to hear that the process is almost identical.

Write the Annotation

Just to remind you again: the annotation begins below the citation. The annotated text is also indented below the citation. The first line of the citation that begins with the author's last name is the only text that is flush left in the entire bibliography.

The paragraphs you include will depend on the aim of your bibliography. Some annotations may summarize, some may analyze a source, while some may offer an opinion on the ideas cited. Some annotations may include all three paragraphs. In brief: it can be descriptive, analytical, or critical. But it follows a specific order…

In the MLA Style, annotated bibliographies have to be arranged alphabetically according to the last names of the first author mentioned in each of the citations. So, just copy-paste each annotation in the proper order.

A Few Resources for the MLA Style

One of the best videos I could find on YouTube that explains the entire process in detail comes from Columbus State Library.

It's also useful to keep these two official documentation sites bookmarked.

The Purdue Online Writing Lab is a useful resource for understanding style formats quickly. Lastly, if you need to cite a YouTube video in MLA Style , then this guide could be helpful.

Is Writing an Annotated Bibliography Hard?

The research is the hard part. Don't make turning your research into the desired format harder than it should be. It really isn't. Academicians have turned it into something mystical!

Just pay attention to the little details. If you are used to the APA Style, a move to MLA Style can spark mistakes. That could be the difference between a pat on the back or a red mark.

site header image

APA Style (7th ed.)

Format Your Paper

Download and use the editable templates for student papers below: .

Or, view the directions for specific sections below:

Order of sections (section 2.17).

Margins & Page Numbers (sections 2.22-2.24)

Text Format (section 2.19)

Tables and Figures In-Text (chapter 7)

Title Page (section 2.3)

Body (section 2.11)

Headings (section 2.26-2.27)

an illustration of the headings -- same detail as is given directly above this image

Quotations (sections 8.26-8.33)

References (section 2.12)

Begins on a new page following the text of your paper and includes complete citations for the resources you've used in your writing.

Appendices with Tables, Figures, & Illustrations (section 2.14, and chapter 7)

Annotated Bibliography

Double-space the entire bibliography. give each entry a hanging indent. in the following annotation, indent the entire paragraph a half inch from the left margin and give the first line of each paragraph a half inch indent. see the template document at the top of this page..

These elements are optional, if your professor or field requires them, but they are  not required for student papers: 

Abstract (section 2.9).

Running Head (section 2.8 )

More questions? Check out the authoritative source: APA style blog

Purdue Online Writing Lab College of Liberal Arts

annotated bibliography apa word template

Annotated Bibliography Samples

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

This handout provides information about annotated bibliographies in MLA, APA, and CMS.

Below you will find sample annotations from annotated bibliographies, each with a different research project. Remember that the annotations you include in your own bibliography should reflect your research project and/or the guidelines of your assignment.

As mentioned elsewhere in this resource, depending on the purpose of your bibliography, some annotations may summarize, some may assess or evaluate a source, and some may reflect on the source’s possible uses for the project at hand. Some annotations may address all three of these steps. Consider the purpose of your annotated bibliography and/or your instructor’s directions when deciding how much information to include in your annotations.

Please keep in mind that all your text, including the write-up beneath the citation, must be indented so that the author's last name is the only text that is flush left.

Sample MLA Annotation

Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life . Anchor Books, 1995.

Lamott's book offers honest advice on the nature of a writing life, complete with its insecurities and failures. Taking a humorous approach to the realities of being a writer, the chapters in Lamott's book are wry and anecdotal and offer advice on everything from plot development to jealousy, from perfectionism to struggling with one's own internal critic.

In the process, Lamott includes writing exercises designed to be both productive and fun. Lamott offers sane advice for those struggling with the anxieties of writing, but her main project seems to be offering the reader a reality check regarding writing, publishing, and struggling with one's own imperfect humanity in the process. Rather than a practical handbook to producing and/or publishing, this text is indispensable because of its honest perspective, its down-to-earth humor, and its encouraging approach.

Chapters in this text could easily be included in the curriculum for a writing class. Several of the chapters in Part 1 address the writing process and would serve to generate discussion on students' own drafting and revising processes. Some of the writing exercises would also be appropriate for generating classroom writing exercises. Students should find Lamott's style both engaging and enjoyable.

In the sample annotation above, the writer includes three paragraphs: a summary, an evaluation of the text, and a reflection on its applicability to his/her own research, respectively.

For information on formatting MLA citations, see our MLA 9th Edition (2021) Formatting and Style Guide .

Sample APA Annotation

Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America . Henry Holt and Company.

In this book of nonfiction based on the journalist's experiential research, Ehrenreich attempts to ascertain whether it is currently possible for an individual to live on a minimum-wage in America. Taking jobs as a waitress, a maid in a cleaning service, and a Walmart sales employee, the author summarizes and reflects on her work, her relationships with fellow workers, and her financial struggles in each situation.

An experienced journalist, Ehrenreich is aware of the limitations of her experiment and the ethical implications of her experiential research tactics and reflects on these issues in the text. The author is forthcoming about her methods and supplements her experiences with scholarly research on her places of employment, the economy, and the rising cost of living in America. Ehrenreich’s project is timely, descriptive, and well-researched.

The annotation above both summarizes and assesses the book in the citation. The first paragraph provides a brief summary of the author's project in the book, covering the main points of the work. The second paragraph points out the project’s strengths and evaluates its methods and presentation. This particular annotation does not reflect on the source’s potential importance or usefulness for this person’s own research.

For information on formatting APA citations, see our APA Formatting and Style Guide .

Sample Chicago Manual of Style Annotation

Davidson, Hilda Ellis. Roles of the Northern Goddess . London: Routledge, 1998.

Davidson's book provides a thorough examination of the major roles filled by the numerous pagan goddesses of Northern Europe in everyday life, including their roles in hunting, agriculture, domestic arts like weaving, the household, and death. The author discusses relevant archaeological evidence, patterns of symbol and ritual, and previous research. The book includes a number of black and white photographs of relevant artifacts.

This annotation includes only one paragraph, a summary of the book. It provides a concise description of the project and the book's project and its major features.

For information on formatting Chicago Style citations, see our Chicago Manual of Style resources.


APA Style & Citation 7th edition

Annotated Bibliography

Information on Annotated Bibliographies can be found in Section 9.51 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.)

FREE 5+ Annotated Bibliography Samples in MS Word | PDF

When creating an educational book or research journal, a well formatted bibliography will ensure that every sources of information used for creating it is legitimate and based on knowledge from previous researches that makes the formulated Gradebook Templates a great source of knowledge. Any book authors can use an APA style bibliography template to easily list down the book sources and reference used in a particular research or academic books.

Annotated Bibliography Template

Research analysis sample - 9+ examples in word, pdf, sample decision memo - 18+ documents in pdf, word, table of contents template - 9+ download free documents in pdf ....

Before writing the bibliography and N otice Letter Templates , just make sure that the details of the book title and authors of the book reference must be noted to make a complete bibliography be printed out; format for citation and annotation depends on the purpose of the bibliography and of the book so having this format will be a big help of making a thorough bibliography.

Annotated Bibliography Example

annotated bibliography example

Size: 114 KB

If you are planning for designing any educational book or research journal, then this is the best suited platform to be used. Contents pages include guidelines; sample annotated bibliography and sample standard reference list from where you can customize this in your own way. Guidelines include citation in current APA style format and annotation as well.

Annotated Bibliography Sample

basic annotated bibliography

Size: 60 KB

This comes in a more professional format in which you can edit, delete or include your points as per your targeted audiences. At the top left corner of the sample includes the details of the applicant along with his/ her full details. So that, as a reader you can get a clear picture of that!

Example of Annotated Bibliography

example of annotated bibliography

Size: 242 KB

This contains mainly three vivid sections. One is introduction paragraph, the second one is citation and the third one is annotation. Here you can write it down and cover all the three topics in a more detailed way. That’s why this is ideal to be used where author tries to list down the source lists and reference sections as well.

Sample Annotated Bibliography Template

sample annotated bibliography template

Size: 12 KB

It is available in the form of paragraph style. This template may include all the basic as well as detailed information to be filled. This is available in very professional design and uses only black and white color combinations. This is available in print ready formats but PDF formats are also available as per requirements.

Annotated Bibliography PDF

annotated bibliography pdf

Annotated Bibliography In Word

annotated bibliography in word

Why Do We Need Annotated Bibliography Templates?

When you are planning to design any book or research or journal then this is the best way to use any of the formatted bibliography templates so that your job will be easier. It ensures that your job will be easier if you use anyone of this as we all know formulated book is a great source of knowledge and can attract readers to grab information.

When Do We Need Annotated Bibliography Templates?

Tricky question, but it completely depends up to you and your needs. When you are planning to get your work documented or organized, then this template would help you to do the things very effectively. If you are planning to publish a book, then choose any one of these. This will serve your purpose efficiently. You may like  Employee Handbook Templates .

Tips To Create Annotated Bibliography Templates

Need to just put it down the information so that, your templates will be well organized. Any book authors can use an APA style bibliography template so that they can easily list down the name with their source and other helpful links as well.

Just need to keep in mind that, before choosing any of the template, book title and format of citation and annotation depends on the purpose of the bibliography so that it could be meaningfully elaborated.

If you are an author and has a plan for developing any template that could enhance your presence in your reader and followers then this is the best medium, best practice will ever be used. Just need to keep in mind that, book reference along with format for citation and annotation can be noted down with detailed manner so that the future effort can be minimized.

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  1. Understanding APA Format

    If you’re writing academically, chances are you’ve been tasked with writing a paper that follows APA style. Although there’s a learning curve involved with adhering to APA style, it’s possible to learn the basics so you can turn in your ass...

  2. How Do You Make an Outline in APA Style?

    Writing an outline in APA style involves formatting the lines properly, using 12-point Times New Roman font and creating detailed headings. Each point of the outline starts with a header, which is marked by a Roman numeral.

  3. About APA Citation Online Tools

    As anyone who has ever written a paper for a college class knows, there are certain style rules and guidelines to be followed depending on which discipline you are in. For many college students, learning APA style can be tricky.

  4. Annotated Bibliography Template.docx

    In your annotation, summarize the main points of the source. Be sure to summarize the main points using your own words. Do not copy and paste information

  5. Annotated Bibliography

    Steps to Creating an Annotated Bibliography · Find sources related to your topic (check with your instructor to confirm which types of sources

  6. 7+ Annotated Bibliography Templates

    An APA annotated bibliography consists of the citations of the books. The bibliography of the book is entered in the list which consists of the author's name

  7. Creating an APA Format Annotated Bibliography

    Please note a verbal error in this video regarding serif v. sans serif fonts. Times New Roman is a SERIF font. Arial or calibri are examples

  8. How to Create an Annotated Bibliography in Microsoft Word

    An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to journals, books, articles, and other documents followed by a brief paragraph. The paragraph(s) is a

  9. Format Your Paper

    A Microsoft Word document formatted correctly for an annotated bibliography. Or, view the directions for specific sections below: Order of

  10. APA Annotated Bibliography Guide With Examples

    How to Format an APA Annotated Bibliography · Right-aligned page number · Running header (Optional) · One-inch margins · Double spaced · The title “Annotated

  11. Annotated Bibliography

    Download our Annotated Bibliography template for Microsoft Word: APA Annotated Bibliography Template Button · MLA Annotated Bibliography Template Button

  12. Annotated Bibliography Samples

    Sample APA Annotation. Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America. Henry Holt and Company. In this book of nonfiction based on

  13. Annotated Bibliography

    Annotated Bibliography · The format of your annotated bibliography follow the same format as any APA paper. · The order of references also follow

  14. FREE 5+ Annotated Bibliography Samples in MS Word

    Any book authors can use an APA style bibliography template to easily list down the book sources and reference used in a particular research or academic