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Information Literacy: 20. Creating Annotated Bibliographies

Strategies used to incorporate research skills for the College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School of Management.

Annotated Bibliography

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents that informs the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited. There are two parts to an annotation:

  • The citation - how a resource is cited using a discipline-specific citation style, such as APA or MLA. 
  • The annotation - highlights key findings in the resource you care about, and includes your own considerations for why and how this work is relevant to your own work. Annotations usually include an evaluation of the quality of the resource. 

 

In the example below, the yellow is the citation and the blue is the annotation. It still needs a hanging indentation: top line is all the way to the left, and subsequent lines are "tabbed" to the right underneath the first line. 

Waite, L. J., Goldschneider, F. K., & Witsberger, C. (1986). Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional family orientations among young adults. American Sociological Review, 51, 541-554.

The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.

In the example below, the yellow is the citation and the blue is the annotation. It still needs a hanging indentation (top line is all the way to the left, and subsequent lines are "tabbed" to the right underneath the first line).

Waite, Linda J., et al. "Nonfamily Living and the Erosion of Traditional Family Orientations Among Young Adults." American Sociological Review, vol. 51, no. 4, 1986, pp. 541-554.

The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.

In the example below, the yellow is the citation and the blue is the annotation. It still needs a hanging indentation (top line is all the way to the left, and subsequent lines are "tabbed" to the right underneath the first line).

Waite, Linda J., Frances Kobrin Goldscheider, and Christina Witsberger. "Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional family orientations among young adults." American Sociological Review (1986): 541-554.

The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.

The Process

Each department/discipline may have different requirements for annotated bibliographies. The following steps are general guidelines on how to create an annotated bibliography:

1. Locate literature that contains useful information on your topic.  Try to choose works that provide a variety of perspectives on your topic.

2. Cite each resource using your subject specific citation style (e.g. APA or MLA).

3. Review each item by writing an evaluation of the work and how it is interesting and important to your research. This is the annotated portion and each reviewed item should:

(a) Offer your explanation of the main findings revealed in the article,

(b) Include your reasoning/thinking on how this specific study pertains to your inquiry, questions and/or research,

(c) Provide your assessment of the source reliability and evidence for this,

(d) Use brief and precise language - aim for a short paragraph. Always use your own voice and avoid jargon wherever possible.

4. Arrange the bibliography alphabetically as specified by your citation style guide.