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Annotated Bibliographies: Formatting: APA


The sample below provides a snapshot of what a completed annotated bibliography would look like. Scroll further to see notes on specific formatting considerations for APA style.

Formatting: APA

Notes: Headings and Titles

The American Psychological Association does not prescribe a specific title format for annotated bibliographies. However, to follow the formatting guidelines for APA-style papers, include a separate title page and a page number for each page of your bibliography. For APA-style paper templates, see the HPULibraries APA citation guide (7th Edition).

Consider creating a descriptive title, with the inclusion of "An Annotated Bibliography" as the subtitle.


Notes: Spacing

Annotated bibliographies are double-spaced throughout. This includes the space between the title and the first entry, as well as the space between entries.

Notes: Indentation

Use 'hanging indent' format: The first line of each reference is flush to the left margin, and subsequent lines are indented.

Note that the entire annotation below the reference should be indented, so that only the first line of the reference is to the left margin. This makes it easier for a reader to skim the list for author names or publication dates. 

Notes: Alphabetization

Entries within annotated bibliographies are ordered alphabetically by the first component of the entry (usually the author). As in MLA, APA reference lists use the letter-by-letter system, which means the order of names is determined by the letters before the commas between surnames and given names (MLA, 170). For example:

Saint-Exupery, Antoine de

St. Denis, Ruth


Letters following the commas are only considered when two or more last names are identical:

Morris, Robert

Morris, William

Morrison, Toni


If the author's name is unknown, alphabetize by title, ignoring the 'A', 'An', 'The', etc. 

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