Annotated Bibliography & Literature Review


Annotated Bibliography Due Date: January 23, 2009 by 9:00am

1) What is an annotated bibliography?: An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, websites, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) 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. Additionally, the annotated bibliography includes a usefulness “ranking” of the sources for the student. This allows the student to go back and write a review of only the most useful sources. In other words, the annotated bibliography is the basis for a well planned literature review that expands the process by noting connections and disconnects between the ideas presented in each source.  

2) create a literature review (due February 13, 2009) of the 5 best sources from your annotated bibliography. Length: three to five pages. Handouts about the literature are available on the course website under the "Annotated Bibliographies & Literature Reviews" link on the right hand side of the homepage.

 In writing the literature review, your purpose is to convey to your reader what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. As a piece of writing, the literature review must be defined by a guiding concept (e.g., your research objective, the problem or issue you are discussing, or your argumentative thesis). It is not just a descriptive list of the material available, or a set of summaries.

Besides enlarging your knowledge about the topic, writing a literature review lets you gain and demonstrate skills in two areas:

1.      information seeking: the ability to scan the literature efficiently to identify a set of useful articles, documents, websites, and books.

2.      critical appraisal: the ability to apply principles of analysis to identify unbiased and valid studies. Specifically, to compare and contrast information or arguments between resources.

Literature reviews provide you with a handy guide to a particular topic. If you have limited time to conduct research, literature reviews can give you an overview or act as a stepping stone. For professionals, they are useful reports that keep them up to date with what is current in the field. For scholars, the depth and breadth of the literature review emphasizes the credibility of the writer in his or her field. Literature reviews also provide a solid background for a research paper's investigation. Comprehensive knowledge of the literature of the field is essential to most research papers.