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Education Guide: Annotated Bibliographies

Find targeted resources for research and referencing

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations of published literature where each citation is followed by a brief annotation. The annotation describes the contents and purpose of the book or article and should inform the reader of its relevance, accuracy, and quality.

Step 1: Understanding your the topic

Understand your topic
Use a number of good reference sources such as topical dictionaries and encyclopedias to get a handle on your topic, and perhaps identify the "classic" books and articles covering the subject. You subject prescribed and recommended readings could also be of help. Ask for help in identifying good sources at the InfoHelp Desk in the library.

Suggestion: Take a look at a good encyclopedia, especially one that concentrates on the subject area of your topic. Go to the Reference shelves in the Library, or take a look at Credo our online, full text, reference library which includes encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri and books of quotations, as well as subject specific titles from the humanities.

Step 2: Finding sources

A. To find books and book chapters you have identified through your reading in Step 1, search the Author or Title of each book in the library catalogue.

B. To find other books, journals and multimedia,  use One Search or databases specific to Education (i.e. A+Education or ERIC).

To find journal articles, select the appropriate databases to search. Search for your topic with a variety of search terms. To access online journals titles available at JCU, check the eJournal List.

C. Try One Search using keywords for your topic. One Search will return results from our print and online collections including books, ebooks, scholarly articles and newspaper articles. 

Suggestion: If you have any trouble finding articles or books on your topic, ask for help from your liaison librarians. Ask at the InfoHelp desk, call, email or use the Chat Service.

Step 3: Review your selected resources

Your sources should answer a question(s) or critique the resource. In your annotation you should inform the reader on how well the resource meets your assessment criteria.

Step 4: Writing your annotations

A. Begin with the full citation - the reference. Click on the APA referencing tab for basic styles.

B. Write your annotation. It should include:

  • a summary of the main arguments or ideas presented by the author - about a half of the annotation
  • a critique of the source’s usefulness, reliability, objectivity or bias, and a comparison with other sources annotation
  • a reflection on how the source fits into answering the questions for your assessment.

The critique or evaluation and the reflection should be about half the annotation.

Step 5: Review

A. Read your annotations. Do they address the questions on your topic?

B. Is our spelling and punctuation and grammar correct?

C. Are your citations in the correct format following the  APA style?

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