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Formatting Annotated Bibliography in an APA Style

APA style format is an abbreviation of an American Psychological Association. This format is usually applied in scientific papers, like social issues or behavioral issues. The last one includes a broad range of subjects, like neuroscience, psychology and cognitive science.

Social sciences focus on all sides of human behavior, concentrating on cultural and social interactions. However, there are many other subjects and areas, which use this style. Be attentive, you may easily confuse various styles because they can have similar features and only slight differences. Make sure to ask your professor whether to use APA, Chicago or MLA bibliography in your work not to have to redo everything.

When working on the assignment not depending what topic it is on, it is important to give credits and properly side all of the used sources. In such a way you acknowledge ideas of other authors. If you decide not to do it, you can be accused in plagiarism, lose grades and even pay a fine.

APA is one of the most popular styles in terms of citation and it is widely used by many paper writers, so you need to master its peculiarities to be on a safe side and not to be accused in plagiarism.

In our APA guidelines you will find all the necessary information on writing and formatting your paper based on standards of the American Psychology Association. Go on reading and you will no longer have any problems with this formatting style.

Basic requirements

While APA is mostly used in scientific works and projects, you should stick to the golden rule and remain laconic. You need to stick to the point of your work and provide all of the details in a clear way. Stay focused, professional and direct, and try not to include irrelevant information to the paper.

This will help to make the core of your paper of a perfect size and won’t overload annotated bibliography with extra sources.

When using an APA format, you should also remember about headings, which aim to organize your work and make it easier for the reader to find a necessary piece. There are five headings levels in an APA format, each of which has its own size and purpose.

Now, when you got familiar with the basic principles of this formatting style and got the answer to ‘What is a bibliography?’, let us proceed with examining how an annotated bibliography should look like.

Formatting APA bibliography

When you get a new assignment, you should ask about specific formatting guidelines at once. This will save lots of your time and nerves, as you won’t have to rewrite the paper anew if you choose the wrong formatting style. This especially concerns citing, because every style has its own requirements.

So what is an annotated bibliography? Basically, it is a summary of all the sources you have used. APA has the following general requirements:

  • An 8 ½ x 11” paper;
  • A single inch margin on all of the sides;
  • The first word of every paragraph must be indented ½ inch;
  • Times New Roman, 12 size;
  • Double spaced;
  • A running head should be placed on top of every page. Every Word processor can do this automatically, you only need to type in necessary information;
  • Bibliography list should be alphabetized.

Referencing in an APA format

When you start working with an APA annotated bibliography, make sure you follow every single requirement:

  • Begin referencing from a new page;
  • Start with a running title;
  • The word ‘References’ should be centered and bold. However, you shouldn’t underline or italicize it. There is also no need to use quotation marks;
  • Every source you have used while writing your paper should be properly referenced at the end of your work.

Citing different types of sources

Every source type has its own requirements when it comes to citing it. Let us have a closer look at the main types and see how they differ.


Bibliography format for books is probably the most popular request among students of all backgrounds. Book is a written piece of work that has ever been published and gives students comprehensive information on the date of publication, the name of the author, title, country and city of publication and many other details.

Almost all the details, which you should include to your book citation, may be found on the cover of a printed version or on the first page.

Name of the author (publication year). Title of the book. City of the Publisher, State: Name of the publisher.

If you need to mention a chapter of a book in your APA bibliography, you should use a slightly different approach. Such citation will look as following:

Name of the author (publication year). Title of the chapter. Editor, book’s title (pages). City of the Publisher, State: Name of the publisher.

Most of the information from the chapter of a printed version can also be found on the title page. It is placed in the first pages of the printed book. You may also need additional data from the table of contents. For example, the title of the chapter, the name of the author and the numbers of necessary pages.

An electronic book is a piece of writing that is digitized and can be read using readers, like Nook, iPad, Kindles, etc. Here is an annotated bibliography example of such a source:

Author’s name (publication year). Work’s title [version for the e-reader]. Extracted from URL


Journals, whether they are academic or scholarly, are usually created for certain disciplines and fields. Usually, they are issued through a certain period of time and include different articles, reviews and researches.

When you need to cite a journal, its title is written using a title case. This section, as well as the volume number, must be italicized. When you want to cite an online journal, it will look as follows:

Author’s name (publication year). Title of the article. Title of the Journal, Volume Number, pp.-pp. Extracted from URL

This sort of annotated bibliography APA example can be applied to all sorts of online journals.


A newspaper is a publication, which is available every day or week and contains recent news. Such sources usually consist of political articles, business, society, sports or art news. For the newspapers, which are present in printed versions, your citing should look like this:

Author’s name (Year/month/day of the publication). Title of the article. Title of the newspaper,pp. xx-xx.


Some people may confuse magazines with newspapers. However, having a similar structure, they have many differences. A magazine is also a periodical but contains text and graphics on a strictly chosen topic. This difference is important both for an APA and MLA annotated bibliography, because you need to know how to cite every source properly.

Online magazines should be cited as follows:

Author’s name (Year/month of the publication). Title of the article. Title of the magazine, Volume number. Issue number. Extracted from URL of the magazine’s website.

The issue and the volume number can be found on different pages of the article. Examine the website thoroughly not to miss out such important details.


Blogs are a relatively new term, but they became so popular that a necessity to cite them properly has already emerged. Knowing how to write an annotated bibliography is impossible without this source.

In an APA format, blogs are cited in the following way:

Name of the author (Year/month/day of the publication) Title of the post. Extracted from URL


A website is a row of online sources and pages, which are connected together and consist of texts and images for various purposes. In most of the cases, websites cover a particular topic. For example, education, sports, news, etc.

Keep in mind that most of the sources already have citation structures available, so you should consult them first in order not to miss important details. In this case an APA format example won’t be necessary.


A tweet is a short post, which is shared through a social platform, which is called Twitter.

Last name [Username]. (Year/month/day of publication). Tweet text [Tweet]. Extracted from URL

YouTube videos

As you all know, YouTube is a powerful platform, which is used to show videos that are upload by companies or individuals.

Last name of the uploader [Username], ]. (Year/month/day of publication).Title of the video[File]. Extracted from URL

As you see, APA bibliography format for videos is quite similar to Twitter.

Sheet Music

Unfortunately, APA doesn’t have any guidelines on citing sheet music. That is why we recommend you stick to a book format in case you need to cite such a piece. After the title indicate the descriptor [Sheet music]. The biggest difference from a book is that it is written by a composer. You can indicate this fact as follows:

Last name of the composer, F.M., (Composer).


There is a slight difference between APA and MLA. The first needs to be presented in the following way:

Last name of the producer (Producer) and last name of the director (Director). (Year of the publication). Film title [Format]. Extracted from URL

Dissertation or thesis

Thesis is a paper that is submitted to get a university degree. Dissertation is a paper, which is completed to get an advanced degree, like a doctorate. You can find many examples of theses and dissertations online to see how they are cited. APA example for such sources looks like this:

Last name of the author (Year of publication). Thesis or dissertation title (Master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation). Extracted from the title of the database (Accession or order number).


Encyclopedias are works, which concentrate on a certain subject or contain generalized information on common topics. Such sources are usually organized in alphabetical order and consist of short entries that are overviews of a chosen topic.

Last name of the author (Year of publication). Entry title. Editor’s last name (Ed.), Encyclopedia’s title (Version). Extracted from URL

Now you have almost every bibliography example and will have no problems with an APA format!

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