Annotation Examples Simply Explained

Annotations are used in order to add notes or more information about a topic. They can be used in a variety of ways and in a diverse amount of disciplines.

  • It is common to see highlighted notes to explain content listed on a page or at the end of a publication. These notes can be added by the reader or printed by the author or publisher.
  • Another common use of annotations is in an annotated bibliography which details the information about sources used to back up research.
person pointing at words in book person pointing at words in book
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Annotations in Content

Annotations can be used to provide reminders, help a reader engage with the text, or to add context or further clarification. Highlighting or underlining key words or major ideas is the most common way of annotating in content and makes it easy to find those important passages again. You can go beyond marking up text and write notes on your reaction to the content or on its connection with other works or ideas. You may also find annotations in some texts written by the authors themselves, regarding related topics or expanding on an idea.

Reader Annotations

  • A student noting important ideas from the content by highlighting or underlining passages in their textbook
  • A student noting examples or quotes in the margins of a textbook
  • A reader noting content to be revisited at a later time
  • A Bible reader noting sources in their Bible of relevant verses for study

Author or Publisher Annotations

  • Pronunciation explanations
  • Notes made by a realtor on a housing listing
  • Notes from the coroner on an autopsy report
  • Notes in a law book showing related court cases

Annotations in an Annotated Bibliography

Annotated bibliographies should include summary information about the source, the value of the source, and an evaluation of the reliability. Annotations should be kept brief.

The list should be titled Annotated Bibliography, as below, or Annotated List of Works Cited. The bibliography can be listed alphabetically by author or title, by date of publication, or by subject (using MLA and APA formatting styles).

Annotated Bibliography: Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety Disorder. (2013). NIMH Website. Retrieved from: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml?wvsessionid=wv650bd43245ce405884dd78979489454

This is a comprehensive listing of anxiety-related disorders with descriptions of each disorder and narratives from those who have coped with the symptoms. The site discusses how sufferers can get help and what resources are available. There is information about research currently underway to help with these disorders.The National Institute of Mental Health is a renowned organization committed to the education of individuals on mental health issues as well as research and dissemination of information pertaining to all aspects of mental health. This site is a useful tool to understand anxiety disorders and how they affect those suffering from them.


Dimeff, Linda, Koerner, Kelly, and Linehand, Marsha. Dialectical Behavior Therapy in Clinical Practice: Applications across Disorders and Settings. Guilford Press. 2007.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy, initially created as a means of treatment for those with bipolar disorder who showed suicidal tendencies, is now a more generalized method of treatment, established as effective for many psychological disorders. This book outlines the method and its increased usage.

Guilford Press is a publisher of many reputable books, both scholarly and in the self-help genre, that relate to psychology and psychiatry. The authors are highly knowledgeable in their field of practice making the source highly reliable.


Magnitude of placebo response and drug-placebo differences across psychiatric disorders. (2004). Psychological Medicine. Retrieved from http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=298944

This article discusses the usage and effectiveness of various drugs in treatment for myriad psychiatric disorders, including anxiety. Six different disorders were studied using placebos to study the effects.

Published by Cambridge Press, a respected and renowned publication, this scholarly article is highly informative, and the data considered reliable.


Self Help Publications. (2013). Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Retrieved from http://www.adaa.org/finding-help/self-help-publications

This site is a useful tool to find resources to help those dealing with anxiety-related issues, no matter what the disorder. It is useful for various age ranges, giving information for adults as well as how to help teens or young children. Furthermore, the list offers some informative texts that would be helpful to those whose family members, friends, or other loved ones are trying to cope with anxiety-related disorders.

Composed by a reputable organization, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, this list is a useful means of locating print resources to learn more about anxiety and how to help oneself, or others. Some treatment methods are discussed in detail in some publications, as well, helping researchers and others to better understand some of the specifics of treatment options.

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Why Annotate?

Annotations will ensure that you understand what is happening in a text when you come back to it, or provide others with valuable information about the text. You can add annotations by hand or by using the commenting tools of software such as Google Docs or Adobe Acrobat. Don't forget, you could also annotate on sticky notes if you have pages you can't write on. As you annotate, make sure you include descriptions of the text as well as your own reactions to the content or author.

Read our examples of annotated bibliography article to see additional examples and learn more about formatting.