Writing a research paper is an opportunity to demonstrate both your technical knowledge of writing and your creative voice. When it comes to technique, any research paper or other essay that requires you to use one or more source will need to include a bibliography. Some instructors may prefer an annotated bibliography, which is a list of citations with a thoughtful description of each source, including books, journals, websites and personal interviews. An annotated bibliography allows you to share important information about the sources' relevance and quality in the context of your research paper.


An annotated bibliography shares a list of citations used in a research paper along with a description and analysis of each source. For interviews, this includes a thoughtful consideration of the content of the interview, the person interviewed and how that interview impacted the paper.

Content of a Bibliography

An annotated bibliography lists each work you referenced in your research and allows you and your reader to see, at a glance, how that source impacted your paper. You will list your references using style guidelines such as MLA, APA, Chicago or AP. This requires titles, authors, publishers, cities of publication and years of publications. You will also state the format of the source (print or online). For interviews, you will need the name of the person you interviewed, the date of the interview and whether you personally conducted the interview.

Main Ideas

Interviews may stray from the main topic of discussion. Go through your notes or listen to the recorded interview to make a list of the main ideas discussed. You may want to make two columns: one where you will place the ideas relevant to the topic and another column where you can list ideas that stray off course. Highlight or circle the main ideas that directly pertain to your topic.

Analyze the Interview

Once you have noted the main ideas of your interview, analyze these points, the interview as a whole and the person interviewed. Is the information contained in the interview reliable? If she stated facts, did you confirm the information? Is he biased toward one viewpoint? Asking these questions will help you critically consider the interview as a whole, and you can make a list of words or phrases that describe your analysis. For example, you may state the interview was reliable, informative and objective. These words will help when you put the annotation together.

Further Considerations

Consider the ways the interview affected your research or how you view the topic. Begin by asking yourself questions to determine the effect of the interview. Did your perspective change? Did the interview give you an insight you had not considered before? In what ways did the interview affect your continued research or the direction of your paper? Including these insights in your annotated bibliography provides your reader with valuable information about this source.

Complete Annotation

Once you have carefully gathered information pertaining to the interview, you can begin creating the annotation. The annotation may range from a single paragraph to multiple paragraphs, and this will vary depending on the extent of the interview, the impact on your research and the parameters of your assignment. Begin by stating the relevant main ideas you discussed in the interview. Leave out ideas that do not relate specifically to your paper. Refer to the list of words and phrases you compiled and offer an analysis of both the content of the interview and the person you interviewed. Close your annotation with a reflection on the ways the interview affected your paper and the course of your research.

Annotation Example

Sometimes it is simpler to understand a concept like writing an annotated bibliography including interviews by viewing an illustrative example:

"Gorman, Carl, former Navajo Code Talker. Interview by telephone, 4 February 1993.

Carl Gorman was one of the originators of the Navajo code for the Marines. Later in the war he trained new Code Talker recruits. He discussed how the code was created, relating specific examples of how they coded the words from English to Navajo. Dr. Gorman told of many wonderful experiences that had taken place since World War II. He credits the Code Talker Program with opening many doors for him. "

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