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APA Formatting and Style Guide (7th Edition)
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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / APA Format / APA Annotated Bibliography Format
APA Annotated Bibliography Format
The American Psychological Association states that your instructor should set the guidelines for your annotated bibliography, but does ask that the list be formatted according to their standard reference page rules (see Section 9.51 of the Publication Manual ). Since there are no set rules for creating one, you may be wondering how to create an annotated APA bibliography. If your teacher or professor requests one, don’t worry, here are our recommendations:
- Make sure you create your references according to APA’s guidelines. If you need some help, here’s a great APA citation website , which shows how to create references for electronic sources. We also have a page on developing a reference for an APA journal . Need other source types? Check out the other helpful pages on EasyBib.com.
- Annotations should be kept short and are usually not more than one paragraph.
- For more information on writing an annotation, visit the general annotated bibliography guide .
Here’s a run-through of everything this page includes:
- Quick APA formatting guidelines
Visual example, using the easybib annotation tool, troubleshooting, quick apa formatting guidelines:.
- Use 1-inch page margins on all sides.
- The entire page should be double-spaced.
- Title your page, “Annotated Bibliography”. Center and bold it.
- Left-align references. If a reference runs over more than one line, any line(s) that comes after the first should be indented a ½ inch from the left margin.
- Organize your references alphabetically by the first word in the reference. (See further details in this APA Reference Page guide).
- Add the annotations on the line right after their corresponding reference.
- Indent annotations ½ inch from the left margin.
- Include a page number in the upper right corner; if this is a professional paper, it should be a running head.
For an annotated bibliography APA example, we’re using the same description as above. The only thing we’re going to change is the structure of the reference. For an APA bibliography, the reference needs to be an APA citation , and the description can be formed the same way as above.
Here’s what the APA book citation for The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase looks like:
Forsyth, M. (2014). The elements of eloquence: Secrets of the perfect turn of phrase. Penguin Books.
The author, Mark Forsyth, examines the rhetorical devices used in the English language, analyzing the patterns and formats that create memorable quotes. He traces the history of rhetoric to the Ancient Greeks, and provides an abridged timeline, following their use and evolution through to modern day. The author also explores the broader subject of persuasion and maps out the role that the figures of rhetoric play in it. In all, he examines over thirty devices, dissecting notable passages and phrases from pop music, the plays of William Shakespeare, the Bible, and more to explore the figures of rhetoric at work within each of them. Thorough definitions accompany this examination of structure to demonstrate how these formulas have been used to generate famously memorable expressions as well as how to reproduce their effects.
The EasyBib citation generator has an annotation tool that can help you easily add your annotation to a citation.
- To do this, begin creating a citation in the EasyBib citation generator. Already have a citation on EasyBib.com? Go to the citation, open your citation options and select “Edit citation.”
- Once you get to the citation form (where you review found information), scroll to the bottom until you see the sections “More options.”
- Under that section, click on the “Add annotation” link to open the annotation box.
- Copy and paste your annotation into the box.
- Complete your citation.
- Your annotation will automatically be included and formatted with your citation. You can copy and paste directly into your paper!
Again, even though the APA style does not support the creation of bibliographies that include annotations, many schools and professors expect their students to include summaries or commentary alongside their citations in APA style.
Solution #1: How to write an annotation
Annotations are brief paragraph summaries of your source and may include details about how you plan to use the information in your paper, or the quality of information in your source. Take these steps:
- Read through the source.
- Identify the main thesis theme of the source then consider how you would summarize the article and its purpose in one sentence.
- Evaluate the source. Is the author(s) qualified? Is the source and its arguments credible? Well-written? Why or why not?
- How does the source relate to your paper?
- Write your annotation based on the above steps. Choose only the points that would most help you or your reader gain an understanding of the source and its significance.
Here are writing tips:
- Avoid describing every event, statistic, or detail that occurs in your source.
- Focus on details that are relevant to your topic or your paper. Help the reader understand why the source was selected and is importance.
- Think about how the information impacts your perspective, how it contributes to your topic, and the effect on your overall paper.
Annotated paragraph example:
Solution #2: How to correctly format an annotation with multiple paragraphs
- Indent the entire annotated paragraph at ½ of an inch. When done correctly, the left edge of the annotated paragraph will look entirely straight, as in the first example below.
- If there are multiple paragraphs, follow step one but use a second 0.5-inch indention on the second and following paragraphs.
- Avoid indenting the paragraph at 0.5 inch like a regular essay paragraph, as shown in the third example.
Single annotated paragraph example:
Multiple annotated paragraphs example:
In his novel, “A True Story of John Doe,” Samuel Smith outlines his life through the eyes of a fictional character. His recollection outlines the immigrant experience and demonstrates how modern life in England came to be.
Chapters two and three outline the novelty of moving to a new location by describing the eventual progression to culture shock. Smith describes life as beautiful and wonderous in chapter two by emphasizing sensory experiences. However, in chapter three, he slowly gains awareness of the differences between his current and previous lives and of how the locals treat him. Smith nullifies the sensory experiences and, instead, focuses on the depth of the human emotion. I intend to use this source to compare to my own experience as an immigrant.
APA Formatting Guide
- Annotated Bibliography
- Block Quotes
- et al Usage
- In-text Citations
- Multiple Authors
- Page Numbers
- Parenthetical Citations
- Reference Page
- Sample Paper
- APA 7 Updates
- View APA Guide
- Book Chapter
- Journal Article
- Magazine Article
- Newspaper Article
- Website (no author)
- View all APA Examples
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To create an annotated APA bibliography, follow the below recommendations:
- Order your reference entries in alphabetical order similar to how you would order entries in the reference list.
- If you want to add an annotation to an entry, add it as a new paragraph below the reference entry. The entire annotation is indented 0.5 inches from the left margin.
Lim, L. (2014). Ideology, rationality and reproduction in education: A critical discourse analysis. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 35 (1), 61–76. https://doi.org/10.1080/01596306.2012.739467 Lim focuses on issues of power and ideology dominant in curricular discourses of rationality to study a discourse analysis of the goals of one of the most important curricula in the teaching of thinking. He proves that political and class commitments are reproduced in the forms of thinking that are valued in societies. Through his research, Lim asserts that such curricula engage in creating our understanding of what thinking and rationality are.
To format an annotated bibliography in APA, follow the recommendations given below:
- Set the left, right, top, and bottom margins as 1 inch.
- Use double-line spacing.
- Title the page “Annotated Bibliography.” Set it in bold.
- The title should be aligned to the center of the page.
- As you format reference entries, left-align all references in the annotated bibliography section. If any entry runs over more than a line, indent the subsequent lines 0.5 inches from the left margin.
- Arrange all reference entries alphabetically according to the surname of the authors.
- Provide your annotations below the reference entry for which you want to give your annotation. Indent annotations 0.5 inches from the left margin.
APA Citation Examples
Other Citation Styles
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- Knowledge Base
- How to cite a website in APA Style
How to Cite a Website in APA Style | Format & Examples
Published on November 5, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on June 17, 2022.
APA website citations usually include the author, the publication date, the title of the page or article, the website name, and the URL. If there is no author, start the citation with the title of the article. If the page is likely to change over time, add a retrieval date.
If you are citing an online version of a print publication (e.g. a newspaper , magazine , or dictionary ), use the same format as you would for print, with a URL added at the end. Formats differ for online videos (e.g. TED Talks ), images , and dissertations .
Use the buttons below to explore the format.
Generate accurate APA citations with Scribbr
Table of contents, citing an entire website, how to cite online articles, websites with no author, websites with no date, how to cite from social media, frequently asked questions about apa style citations.
When you refer to a website in your text without quoting or paraphrasing from a specific part of it, you don’t need a formal citation. Instead, you can just include the URL in parentheses after the name of the site:
One of the most popular social media sites, Instagram (http://instagram.com), allows users to share images and videos.
For this kind of citation, you don’t need to include the website on the reference page . However, if you’re citing a specific page or article from a website, you will need a formal in-text citation and reference list entry.
Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.
Various kinds of articles appear online, and how you cite them depends on where the article appears.
Online articles from newspapers, magazines, and blogs
Articles appearing in online versions of print publications (e.g. newspapers and magazines) are cited like their print versions, but with an added URL.
The same format is used for blog posts. Just include the blog name where you would usually put the name of the magazine or newspaper.
Articles from online-only news sites
For articles from news sites without print equivalents (e.g. BBC News, Reuters), italicize the name of the article and not the name of the site.
When a web page does not list an individual author, it can usually be attributed to an organization or government . If this results in the author name being identical to the site name, omit the site name, as in the example below.
If you can’t identify any author at all, replace the author name with the title of the page or article.
In the in-text citation , put the title in quotation marks if it is in plain text in the reference list, or in italics if it is in italics in the reference list. Note that title case is used for the title here, unlike in the reference list. Shorten the title to the first few words if necessary.
When a web page or article does not list a publication or revision date, replace the date with “n.d.” (“no date”) in all citations.
If an online source is likely to change over time, it is recommended to include the date on which you accessed it.
As social media posts are usually untitled, use the first 20 words of the post, in italics, as a title. Also include any relevant information about the type of post and any multimedia aspects (e.g. videos, images, sound, links) in square brackets.
On some social media sites (such as Twitter ), users go by usernames instead of or in addition to their real names. Where the author’s real name is known, include it, along with their username in square brackets:
In some cases, you’ll want to cite a whole social media profile instead of a specific post. In these cases, include an access date, because a profile will obviously change over time:
When citing a webpage or online article , the APA in-text citation consists of the author’s last name and year of publication. For example: (Worland & Williams, 2015). Note that the author can also be an organization. For example: (American Psychological Association, 2019).
If you’re quoting you should also include a locator. Since web pages don’t have page numbers, you can use one of the following options:
- Paragraph number: (Smith, 2018, para. 15).
- Heading or section name: ( CDC, 2020, Flu Season section)
- Abbreviated heading: ( CDC, 2020, “Key Facts” section)
When you quote or paraphrase a specific passage from a source, you need to indicate the location of the passage in your APA in-text citation . If there are no page numbers (e.g. when citing a website ) but the text is long, you can instead use section headings, paragraph numbers, or a combination of the two:
(Caulfield, 2019, Linking section, para. 1).
Section headings can be shortened if necessary. Kindle location numbers should not be used in ebook citations , as they are unreliable.
If you are referring to the source as a whole, it’s not necessary to include a page number or other marker.
When no individual author name is listed, but the source can clearly be attributed to a specific organization—e.g., a press release by a charity, a report by an agency, or a page from a company’s website—use the organization’s name as the author in the reference entry and APA in-text citations .
When no author at all can be determined—e.g. a collaboratively edited wiki or an online article published anonymously—use the title in place of the author. In the in-text citation, put the title in quotation marks if it appears in plain text in the reference list, and in italics if it appears in italics in the reference list. Shorten it if necessary.
APA Style usually does not require an access date. You never need to include one when citing journal articles , e-books , or other stable online sources.
However, if you are citing a website or online article that’s designed to change over time, it’s a good idea to include an access date. In this case, write it in the following format at the end of the reference: Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.uva.nl/en/about-the-uva/about-the-university/about-the-university.html
Instead of the author’s name, include the first few words of the work’s title in the in-text citation. Enclose the title in double quotation marks when citing an article, web page or book chapter. Italicize the title of periodicals, books, and reports.
No publication date
If the publication date is unknown , use “n.d.” (no date) instead. For example: (Johnson, n.d.).
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.
Caulfield, J. (2022, June 17). How to Cite a Website in APA Style | Format & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved September 10, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-examples/website/
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How to Cite a Book in APA Format
Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."
Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.
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- Basic Structure
- One or More Authors
- Article Within a Book
Multivolume work, ebook or audiobook.
APA format is the official style of the American Psychological Association and is used in both academic and professional writing.
Before you create a reference page for your papers, essays, articles, or reports, it is important to learn how to format your references in proper APA style . This style dictates certain rules and guidelines for different types of references, including books.
Not all book citations are the same in APA style. The format may vary depending on a number of factors including the type of book and number of authors.
APA Book Citation: Basic Structure
The basic structure of a book reference should list the author's last name, the first initial of their first name, the first initial of their middle name (if applicable), publication year, book title, edition (if it isn't the first), and publisher. This is the same format for both books and ebooks. If the source has a DOI link, that should also be included at the end of the reference.
The following example shows one citation with a DOI hyperlink and the second without. Note the punctuation and style. The year of publication is in parentheses. The book title is italicized and in sentence case, and the edition information is in parentheses.
Book Citations in APA
Jackson, L. M. (2019). The psychology of prejudice: From attitudes to social action (2nd ed.). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000168-000
Rogers, C. R. (1961). On becoming a person. Houghton Mifflin.
This basic format can be used for many types of books that have a single author or multiple authors. However, you may need to use one of the following formats for books that are edited, have no author, are translated, or require some specialized formatting.
Edited Book With One or More Authors
Edited books with one or more authors will include the names of the editors in the citation. It should follow the basic structure of a book reference but also include the first name initial, last name, and "Ed." for one editor or "Eds." for multiple editors in parentheses after the book title. Use an ampersand to separate multiple authors and multiple editors.
Citing Authors and Editors
Adler, A. (1956). The individual psychology of Alfred Adler: A systematic presentation of selections from his writings. (H. L. Ansbacher, & R. R. Ansbacher, Eds.). Basic Books.
Marson, G., Keenan-Miller, D., & Costin, C. (2020). The binge eating prevention workbook. (M. Solis, Ed.). New Harbinger Publications.
Edited Book With No Author
Edited books with no author should list the editors first. List the last name and first initial of the editor, followed by "Ed." or "Eds." in parentheses. The remainder of the reference should follow the basic structure and include the publication year, book title in italics, and publisher.
If the book is anything other than the first edition, it should also be noted in parentheses after the title of the book, with no italics. Remember, you don't need to include the publisher's location.
Atkinson, J. W., & Rayner, J. O. (Eds.). (1974). Motivation and achievement. V. H. Winston.
Article Featured in an Edited Book
Sometimes edited books feature a collection of articles written by different authors. To cite an article in such a collection, you should list the last name and first initial of the individual author(s), followed by the publication date and chapter title.
Next, the editors should be listed, followed by the title of the book and the page numbers of the chapter. The publisher's name goes last.
Citing an Article in a Book
Bartol, C. R., & Bartol, A. M. (2005). History of forensic psychology. In I. B. Weiner, & A. K. Hess (Eds.), The Handbook of Forensic Psychology (pp.1-27). Wiley.
Many famous psychology texts were originally written in another language and then translated into English. Books translated from another language should include the last name and first initial of the author, followed by the year of publication and book title.
The first initials and last name of the translator and the notation "Trans." should then be included in parentheses. Next, provide the publisher and the original year of publication.
Citing a Translator
Freud, S. (1914). The psychopathology of everyday life (A. A. Brill, Trans.). T. Fisher Unwin. (Original work published 1901).
If you're referencing a republished book, the in-text citation should include both the original and republished date. For example, if you were to reference the publication above in text, you would write "(Freud 1901/1914)."
The APA style guide also explains how to cite a multivolume work. You list the last name and first initial of the author(s) or editor(s), followed by the year of publication in parentheses. Then, you put the name of the publication in italics in sentence case.
You list the specific volumes in parentheses, using a hyphen between digits. You then list the name of the publisher.
Citing a Multivolume Work
Harris, K. R., Graham, S., & Urdan T. (Eds.). (2012). APA educational psychology handbook (Vols. 1–3). American Psychological Association.
If the ebook or audiobook is also in print and the content is the same, you can cite it the same way you would a print book. However, with audiobooks, you might wish to call out specific information such as the narrator's name.
If you are crediting the narrator of an audiobook, the format is the last name and the initial of the author's first name, then the year of publication in parentheses. After listing the name of the book in italics, you put the first initial and the last name of the narrator, followed by "Narr." in parentheses.
Then you add "Audiobook" in brackets, followed by the publisher's name and URL. The seventh edition of the "Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association" gives the following example:
Citing an Audiobook
Rowling, J. K. (2015). Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone (J. Dale, Narr.) [Audiobook]. Pottermore Publishing. http://bit.ly/2TcHchx (Original work published 1997)
More Tips to Follow
It may seem like there's a lot of information to keep in mind as you cite books in APA style. But remember, the more you practice, the easier it gets!
As you use citations throughout your paper, you'll want to make sure you keep track of them separately so you can add them to your reference page at the end.
Traditionally the term “citation” is used to refer to an in-text source while “reference” is the correct term for a source listed on the reference page of an APA format paper.
The following are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you write an APA-style reference paper:
- Double-space : Remember that your reference page needs to be double-spaced.
- Indent : The first line of each reference should be flush left with the margin of the page. Each subsequent line of your reference should be indented.
- Use the DOI : If a digital object identifier (DOI) is available, include it at the end of the reference.
- Include the URL : If a book has been accessed via an online database , follow the basic APA format and include the full URL at the end.
- Follow additional guidelines : Be sure you are following the other guidelines for your reference page.
A Word From Verywell
APA citations are an integral part of writing in APA style. It's best to consult the latest edition of the "Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association" to stay up to date on all guidelines and helpful tips.
American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . 7th ed. American Psychological Association; 2020.
American Psychological Association. Paper format .
American Psychological Association. Book/ebook references . Updated December 2020.
By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."
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