Difference Between Annotated Bibliography and Literature Review

Main Difference – Annotated Bibliography vs Literature Review

Annotated bibliography and literature review summarize and analyze the information gathered from different sources. The difference between annotated bibliography and literature review lies in the way they present information. An annotated bibliography lists the sources separately, followed by short descriptions. But, literature review analyses all the sources together, examining the relationship between them. In addition, differences can also be observed in purpose, format, and components as well.

This article examines,

1. What is an Annotated Bibliography? – Structure, Components, and Purpose 

2. What is a Literature Review? – Structure, Components, and Purpose 

3. Difference Between Annotated Bibliography and Literature review Difference Between Annotated Bibliography and Literature Review - Comparison Summary

What is an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a bibliography (a list of resources) accompanied by annotations. Annotations are usually short descriptions and critical assessment of each word. The writer will evaluate whether the information from that particular source is relevant to the particular topic and examine the quality of the work. The annotations will contain about 100-200 words. The information about different sources are given separately in an annotated bibliography. The information is listed in alphabetical order. Moreover, each item in the list should use a formal citation style such as APA, MLA or Chicago.

Moreover, annotations may be classified into different types based on their purpose. Informative annotations summarize the source. Evaluative annotations evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the source. The following section is an example of the structure of an annotated bibliography. Here, you can see how different sources are analysed separately. Read more about Annotated Bibliography and how to write it.

Source A

  1. Citation 
  2. Brief description

Source B

  1. Citation
  2. Brief Description

What is a Literature Review

A literature review is an evaluative report of information found in the literature related to your selected area of study. It provides an overview of a particular topic or issue by summarizing and explaining the most significant sources in the field. In a literature review, the sources are integrated into paragraphs based on the relevance. Unlike in an annotated bibliography, the sources are not summarized individually. This method helps to establish relationships – similarities and difference – between the literature you have reviewed. In addition, the gaps in the knowledge are highlighted by this presentation of information as a whole. The structure of a literature review is similar to that of an essay or an article. The list of sources is given as a bibliography or reference list at the end of the text.

The following example indicates the structure of a literature review. In this example, you can observe how different sources are analysed to bring out the commonalities or differences. 

Paragraph 1:

  1. Topic sentence
  2. Evidence from source A
  3. Evidence from source D
  4. Discussion 

Paragraph 2: 

  1. Topic sentence
  2. Evidence from source C
  3. Evidence from source B
  4. Evidence from source E
  5. Discussion 

Difference Between Annotated Bibliography and Literature Review


Annotated Bibliography: Sources are analyzed separately.

Literature Review: Information from different sources are analyzed together.

Listing Sources

Annotated Bibliography: The source is indicated at the beginning of each section.

Literature Review: The sources are listed at the end of the document, as a bibliography.


Annotated Bibliography: Annotated bibliography comments on the relevance and quality of the information.

Literature Review: Literature review establishes a relationship between different sources and highlights gaps in knowledge.


Annotated Bibliography: Sources are listed alphabetically.

Literature Review: Sources are integrated together according to relevance.


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About the Author: Hasa

Hasanthi is a seasoned content writer and editor with over 8 years of experience. Armed with a BA degree in English and a knack for digital marketing, she explores her passions for literature, history, culture, and food through her engaging and informative writing.