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APA 7th Edition Citations Guide - Maple Woods

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Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a list of items (articles/books) that you intend to use as sources for your research assignment. Generally, you will use scholarly or peer-reviewed sources in an annotated bibliography. Though there are several types of annotated bibliographies, summary or evaluative bibliographies are the most common. Instructors assign annotated bibliographies because they encourage students to think critically and examine sources more carefully. All annotated bibliographies, regardless of their purpose, contain certain elements: 

  1. List the items according to the bibliographic format rules your instructor has assigned. (For this example, each source listed will be shown below according to APA 7th Edition)
  2. Include the author(s)’ credentials. Credentials usually consist of an advanced degree or a connection to a university or professional organization. Why is this author an expert on this topic?
  3. What is the main idea/theme/thesis of the work? Usually, the main idea of a source is found in its abstract or the first few paragraphs. Be sure to put the main idea in your own words—don’t just copy it. 
  4. How was this source useful to your research? In other words, what ideas/facts/statistics will you use to support your thesis? What information did you learn? Generally, the more information you gained from the source, the more vital it is to your research.

If you are creating an evaluative annotated bibliography, you will need to include two additional pieces of information about each source:

  1. Did the author have a particular audience or purpose for their work? Is any bias in the information evident?
  2. How does this source relate to the other items you have examined? What connection to your other research can be made?



Sample Summary Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography


Corrigan, M. (2014) So we read on: How The Great Gatsby came to be and why it endures. Little, Brown.

     Maureen Corrigan is a book critic for National Public Radio (NPR), a book reviewer for the Washington Post and a professor of literature at

               Georgetown University. So We Read On investigates the power and influence of The Great Gatsby as one of the best American novels 

               ever written.  Additionally, Corrigan maintains that Gatsby makes a distinct commentary on class in the United States. She mentions that 

               Nick Carraway, the narrator, comes from good breeding and is also able to observe and report on the actions/dreams of Gatsby and his

               hope to be accepted by Daisy and her crowd. Corrigan cites several examples of imagery and language that point to       

               Fitzgerald’s commentary on social class throughout the novel.  Corrigan provides insight into several ways that The Great Gatsby can be


Donaldson, S.  (2010). The trouble with Nick: Reading Gatsby closely. In H. Bloom (Ed.), F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (pp. 157-165). 

               Scott Donaldson is Professor Emeritus at the College of William and Mary. He has written several books on F. Scott Fitzgerald and his

               works. Additionally, Donaldson edited Critical Essays on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Donaldson notes that at numerous times

                throughout the novel, Nick Carraway is a skeptical narrator.  At times, Nick questions Gatsby’s search for the American Dream and the       

                love of his life. Some of the behavior Nick witnesses makes him dismayed with the wealthy class and their behavior. In the end, Nick sees

                Gatsby as a tragic hero who has failed in his pursuit of happiness.  Through Nick’s voice, the reader is given insight into Gatsby’s fatal

                flaws as well as positive character traits. Donaldson’s depiction of the American Dream differs somewhat from the other sources. 

Verderame, C. L. (2020). The American dream in The Great Gatsby. In Encyclopedia of Themes in Literature. New York: Facts On File. 

                Carla Verderame has a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and has taught various courses of American Literature at West Chester

                University for over 20 years.  Professor Verderame uses her knowledge of American literature to expand on the theme of the American

                Dream as it is illustrated in The Great Gatsby. Within the article she discusses the characters as representatives of the different classes of

                people found within the US:  those from old money, those from new money and those in the working class. Verderame notes how the

                various settings in the novel also represent those same economic classes throughout the novel.  She also illustrates that even though

               Gatsby has attained the American Dream financially, he encounters limitations and tragedy as well. In other words, Professor Verderame

               reminds readers that success does not equate to happiness and a fulfilling life. This source will be quite helpful in the discussion of The

               Great Gatsby’s depiction of the American Dream.