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Graduate Education Research

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An Annotated Bibliography is a great way to keep track of your sources, demonstrate your understanding of the sources and how they relate to your topic and to one another, and prepare to write your literature review.

So what is it? Exactly what it sounds like - your bibliography (maybe you're used to calling it "references" or "works cited") + your annotations (your own notes/summary of the sources).

How to create an Annotated Bibliography

Two Steps to Creating an Annotated Bibliography

  1. Write out the citation for each of your sources in proper APA format (see the APA Style page for help)
  2. Write a 2-3 sentence summary of the article. What does the article address? What is the Research Question and Methodology? What conclusions did the article draw? How does this article relate to your topic and to other articles in your bibliography? (This isn't the place for your opinion on the article or your personal reaction to it - but those are useful things to put into your personal reading notes)

Example: 

Hardesty, L. (1995). Faculty culture and bibliographic instruction: An exploratory analysis. Library Trends, 44(2). 

     In this often-cited article, Hardesty attempts to explain certain aspects of "faculty culture" to help librarians better understand the needs, wants, and quirks of college faculty. Other articles (like Morrison's) illustrate that aspects of faculty culture may have changed since 1995, and Hardesty himself acknowledges that faculty is no monolith. Despite the age of the article, it remains a significant piece for librarians seeking to better understand and work with discipline-specific faculty.

McGuiness, C. (2007). Exploring strategies for integrated information literacy: From "academic champions" to institution-wide change. Communications in Information Literacy, 1(1). 

     McGuinness reports the many problems found within the 'reactive' library instruction model of on-demand instruction and word-of-mouth promotion. The author posits that information literacy should be integrated throughout the curriculum. An institution-wide, top-down mandated approach is, in the author's opinion, the best way to teach students information literacy and critical thinking. McGuinness concludes by presenting strategies and examples of successful long-term information literacy programs

Morrison, L. (2007). Faculty motivations: An exploratory study of motivational factors of faculty to assist with student's research skill development. Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, 2(2). 

     Morrison begins by discussing the extensive literature on librarian-faculty collaboration and the factors that impede the achievement of this goal. However, the author reports that few examples were found that attempted to understand the faculty perspective. This study includes results of semi-structured interviews with faculty, both those that provided library instruction and those that did not. Morrison applies psychological models of motivation and behavior in an attempt to use interview responses to gain a better understanding of faculty and their dual roles of educators and academic researchers. Morrison concludes that a deeper understanding on the part of librarians of how faculty think of themselves, their research skills, and the research skills of their students will result in better, more effective outreach and collaboration. 

This example annotated bibliography is an adaptation of content created by Eloise Stevens, Instruction & Outreach Librarian, 2015.