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International Studies

Use this guide as a starting point for research in International Studies.

Bibliography vs. Abstract vs. Annotated


  • Also referred to as “references” and “works cited.” 
  • An alphabetical list of books, journal articles, websites, etc., which you used to write your paper.
  • Made up of “citations” which include, author, title, publisher, date of publication, and for journal articles volume and issue number 


  • Summarizes the work
  • Usually short
  • Normally do not include an evaluation of the work itself

Annotated Bibliography

  • Adds descriptive and evaluative information to the citation
  • 150 words (1 paragraph)
  • addresses relevancy, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited
  • not the same as an “abstract”


Bibliography vs. Abstract vs. Annotated Example

Comparing the Annotated Bibliography to the Literature Review

Formatting the Annotated Bibliography

Annotated bibliographies are descriptive and evaluative lists of resources. Annotated bibliographies start with a citation which is followed by a brief paragraph that describes and also evaluated the information.

The citations (bibliographic information - title, date, author, publisher, etc.) in the annotated bibliography are formatted ASPA.

Annotations are written in paragraph form, usually 3-7 sentences (or 80-200 words). Depending on your assignment your annotations will generally include the following:

  1. Summary: Summarize the information given in the source. Note the intended audience. What are the main arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say?
  2. Evaluate/Assess: Is this source credible? Who wrote it? What are their credentials? Who is the publisher? Is it a useful source? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source?
  3. Reflect/React: Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. State your reaction and any additional questions you have about the information in your source.  Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic. Compare each source to other sources in your AB in terms of its usefulness and thoroughness in helping answer your research question.

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