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Transition to Baccalaureate Nursing 8200:216: Annotated Bibliography

Nursing Faculty: Sheryl Stuck, Spring Semester 2019

Introduction - Writing an Annotated Bibliography

Background Information
  • A bibliography  is a list of citations put together on a topic of interest.
  • An annotation is a commentary a reader makes after critically reading an information source. It can include a summary of the reading, the reader’s response to the reading, and/or questions/comments addressing the article’s clarity, purpose, or effectiveness.
  • An annotated bibliography is an alphabetical list of research sources  (citations to books, articles, and documents). Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words or 4-6 sentences long) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.
Hence, an annotated bibliography tells your reader about the source listed (summarizing what it says) and then explains why it's included on the list (summarizing why it matters for your project). For 8200:216, the annotated bibliography should:
  • Use APA style to format your article (References page)
  • Include an academic/scholarly article related to your topic
  • Include an annotation, or description, of the article

Questions to Consider When Writing an Annotated Bibliography

Questions to ask yourself as you critically analyze the article:

  • Who is the author? His/her credentials? Biases?
  • Where is the article published? What type of journal is it? What is the audience?
  • What do I know about the topic? Am I open to new ideas?
  • Why was the article written? What is its purpose?
  • What is the author’s thesis? The major supporting points or assertions?
  • Did the author support his/her thesis/assertions?
  • Did the article achieve its purpose?
  • Was the article organized?
  • Were the supporting sources credible?
  • Did the article change my viewpoint on the topic?
  • Was the article convincing?
  • What new information or ideas, do I accept or reject?

Summarizing the argument of a source:
An annotation briefly restates the main argument of a source. An annotation of an academic source, for example, typically identifies its thesis (or research question), its major methods of investigation, and its main conclusions. Keep in mind that identifying the argument of a source is a different task than describing its contents. Rather than listing contents, try to account for why the contents are there.

To help identify the argument of your sources, consider the following things:

  • Summarize each article's thesis (central claim or purpose) or research question. Both the introduction and the conclusion can help you with this task.
  • Respond critically to the major points supporting the thesis.
  • Look for repetition of key terms or ideas.
  • Interesting or meaningful quotes - generally 3-4 quotes/article.  Include page numbers with the quote.
  • Questions - generally 2-3 questions.  State the questions (you are not expected to answer them).

Here is a list of some verbs you might find useful for referring to texts and ideas:

  • The evidence indicates that….
  • The article assesses the effect of….
  • The author identifies three reasons for….
  • The article questions the view that….

Source: How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography (courtesy of Cornell University Libraries)

Sample Annotated Bibliography (of one source):

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.