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Format Annotated Bibliography In Word

Word: How to Create an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is often required in written assignments; however, many people are not familiar with the formatting required. In this screencast and tutorial, I demonstrate the steps required to create an annotated bibliography in proper MLA format using Microsoft Word.

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I have included a complete example of an Annotated Bibliography PDF Annotated Bibliography Example for your reference.

Here is a screencast walking through the process.

These directions will work for both 2007 and 2010 versions of Word. Please click on the pictures for additional details.

Open Microsoft Word to a new, blank document.

An annotated bibliography requires the pages to be numbered. To set this up, click the Insert tab, click on Page Number in the Header & Footer section, hover over Top of Page and choose Plain Number 3.

This brings your cursor into the header of your document, in front of the page number. Type your last name in and double click below the header section of your document to stop editing the header.

My personal preference is to write content before formatting, so I’ll explain the formatting in that manner.

In your Home tab, make sure Font Size is 12. Make sure Styles is set to No Spacing. Make sure Text Align Left is selected.

Start at the top of your document, and type your name. Press enter.

Type your professor’s name. Press enter.
Type the course. Press enter.
Type the current date. (Day Month Year) Press enter.
Type “Annotated Bibliography” or another title of the Bibliography. Press enter.

Now you’re ready to enter your bibliographies:

Type the MLA Citation for your source. Press enter.
Type your annotation about the source. Press enter.

Now, edit your formatting:

Press Ctrl+a to highlight your entire document. In the Paragraph section of your Home tab, click Line and Paragraph spacing and click 2.0.

Highlight your title and select Align Text Center.

Highlight the MLA Citation for your first source, and then right click inside the highlighted area and click Paragraph.

On the Indents and Spacing tab, under Indentation, choose “Hanging” from the Special: dropdown menu. Enter “0.5” into the By box. Next, make sure that Line spacing: is set to Double. Click OK.

Now highlight the annotation for the citation and in the Home tab, click Increase Indent.

Coninue this format for each citation and annotation.

Remember that you still need to indent the first sentence of each of your annotations.


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About Aaron St. Clair

Aaron St. Clair is a tech guru studying Computer Science at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. When he's not tinkering with new gadgets, modding systems, or slaving away at the mercy of the Tech-Recipe overlords, you can find him exploring the high country.
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Annotated Bibliography Example


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

Contributors: Geoff Stacks, Erin Karper, Dana Bisignani, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2018-02-09 12:16:53

Stem Cell Research: An Annotated Bibliography

Holland, Suzanne. The Human Embryonic Stem Cell Debate: Science, Ethics, and Public Policy. Boston: MIT P, 2001.

This is the annotation of the above source, which is formatted according to MLA 2016 (8th ed.) guidelines for the bibliographic information listed above. If one were really writing an annotation for this source, one would offer a brief summary of what this book says about stem cell research.

After a brief summary, it would be appropriate to assess this source and offer some criticisms of it. Does it seem like a reliable and current source? Why? Is the research biased or objective? Are the facts well documented? Who is the author? Is she qualified in this subject? Is this source scholarly, popular, some of both?

The length of your annotation will depend on the assignment or on the purpose of your annotated bibliography. After summarizing and assessing, you can now reflect on this source. How does it fit into your research? Is this a helpful resource? Too scholarly? Not scholarly enough? Too general/specific? Since "stem cell research" is a very broad topic, has this source helped you to narrow your topic?

Senior, K. "Extending the Ethical Boundaries of Stem Cell Research." Trends in Molecular Medicine, vol. 7, 2001, pp. 5-6.

Not all annotations have to be the same length. For example, this source is a very short scholarly article. It may only take a sentence or two to summarize. Even if you are using a book, you should only focus on the sections that relate to your topic.

Not all annotated bibliographies assess and reflect; some merely summarize. That may not be the most helpful for you, but, if this is an assignment, you should always ask your instructor for specific guidelines.

Wallace, Kelly. "Bush Stands Pat on Stem Cell Policy." CNN. 13 Aug. 2001.

Using a variety of sources can help give you a broader picture of what is being said about your topic. You may want to investigate how scholarly sources are treating this topic differently than more popular sources. But again, if your assignment is to only use scholarly sources, then you will probably want to avoid magazines and popular web sites.

The bibliographic information above is proper MLA format (use whatever style is appropriate in your field) and the annotations are in paragraph form. Note also that the entries are alphabetized by the first word in the bibliographic entry. If you are writing an annotated bibliography with many sources, it may be helpful to divide the sources into categories. For example, if putting together an extensive annotated bibliography for stem cell research, it might be best to divide the sources into categories such as ethical concerns, scholarly analyses, and political ramifications.

For more examples, a quick search at a library or even on the Internet should produce several examples of annotated bibliographies in your area.

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