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How to Cite a Journal Article in an Annotated Bibliography


You can expand on a standard bibliography by annotating your sources. An annotated entry for a journal article can describe the content and value of the resource, as well as the article's influence on your paper. Adding paragraphs of original content to a bibliography might seem intimidating and exhausting. Fortunately, the two-part entries in an annotated MLA or APA bibliography are as straightforward as the standard bibliographic entries with which many students are already familiar.

The Parts of an Annotated Entry

Your entry should consist of two basic parts: a citation for the journal article and a subsequent annotation about the article. You are probably familiar with citations, which include a source’s identifying information, like the author’s name and the publication date. The presence of an annotation does not change how you cite a source. Format the citation as you would format a citation in a standard bibliography. The annotation should be a one- to three-paragraph discussion about the article, and it should follow the citation. An annotated bibliography should contain a citation and annotation for each of your sources, and you should enter them in citation-annotation-citation-annotation format.

MLA Citation

Type the author’s last name followed by a comma. Leave a space and enter his first name succeeded by a period. Make an open quotation mark. Type the title of the article in title case: Capitalize the first letters of the first word, last word, first word after a colon (if any), and any other title word that is not an article. Add a period and a close quotation mark. Enter the name of the periodical in italicized title case. Leave a space. Add the volume number followed by a period and the issue number. Leave another space then make an open parenthesis. Enter the year of publication followed by a close parenthesis and a colon. Leave a space and enter the page numbers followed by a period. Note the medium by typing “Print.”

For example: Shepard, Alan B. “Fifteen Minutes on Freedom 7.” The Journal of American Astronauts (italicized) 7.1 (1961): 55-61. Print.

APA Citation

Type the author’s last name followed by a comma. Leave a space and enter his first initial succeeded by a period. Make an open parenthesis. Type the publication year then a close parenthesis and a period. Enter the title of the article in sentence case: Only capitalize the first letters of the first word, last word, first word after a colon (if any), and proper nouns. Place a period at the end of the title. Type the name of the periodical in italicized title case followed by a comma. Leave a space. Add the volume number, an open parenthesis, the issue number, a close parenthesis and a comma. Italicize the volume number but not the issue number. Leave a space after the comma and enter the page numbers followed by a period.

For example: Shepard, A. B. (1961). Fifteen minutes on Freedom 7. The Journal of American Astronauts (italicized), 7 (italicized)(1), 55-61.

Annotation

You can include three types of content in your annotation: a summary, an assessment or a reflection on the article’s relevance to your paper. You may include one, two or all of these components, depending on your professor’s instructions and how the source informed your paper. Each component should be one short paragraph. To summarize the article, describe the content or central argument of the article. Address the main points and the author’s conclusion. To assess the article, describe the article’s strengths, weaknesses, reliability, and overall academic value. You can compare it to your other sources, if it’s warranted. To reflect on the article, explain its relevance to your research and how it informed your conclusion. It is appropriate to state your opinion in an annotation.

About the Author

Grace Riley has been a writer and photographer since 2005, with work appearing in magazines and newspapers such as the "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette." She has also worked as a school teacher and in public relations and polling analysis for political campaigns. Riley holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in American studies, political science and history, all from the University of Arkansas.

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