Annotated Bibliography

What is an annotated bibliography? Essentially, an annotated bibliography is an organized way of taking notes. Dictionary.com defines annotation as:

  1. The act or process of furnishing critical commentary or explanatory notes.
  2. A critical or explanatory note; a commentary

and defines "bibliography" as:

  1. A list of the works of a specific author or publisher.
  2. A list of writings relating to a given subject: a bibliography of Latin American history.
  3. A list of writings used or considered by an author in preparing a particular work.

Thus, an "annotated bibliography" is a compilation of sources related to a given subject which includes critical or explanatory information.

Annotated bibliographies have many uses...First, they provide a compilation of sources with intelligent commentary; meaning, that not only do you have a summary of the content of an article, but you also have some comment as to why the article is (or is not) of use. Second, ABs provide a quick reference for useful definitions and key ideas (if you've done your job). Finally, ABs help to provide you an overview of the field so that you are not repeating work that's already been done, but can make a genuine contribution (or at least get a better grade on your current project).

Your Assignment:  You will prepare an annotated bibliography with a minimum of 8 scholarly sources -- no lay-oriented sources may be used for this assignment.  To practice using a variety of literature types, you will include different genres: review papers, case reports, and research reports. You may use up to 2 review papers and you MUST use at least 2 case reports; the rest can be research reports. This assignment is single-spaced, using 12 pt NTR font (or other serif style).  All 4 components below are necessary for full credit.  You may use all or some of these sources in your Review paper.  You do NOT have to write new AB entries for sources you find after the due date!  NOTE: Please see schedule for submission schedule (to help you plan procrastination).

How do you write an annotated bibliography?
    So glad you asked! The four components of an annotated bibliographic entry are as follows:

  1. An AMA style referenceHealthlinks    RefWorks  AMA Citation Generator
  2. A short paragraph of 150-200 words in 3 or 4 sentences indicating:
    • The research question (may include "problem", too);
    • Methodology (very briefly -- consider including type of research report);
    • Major results/outcomes;
    • Conclusions, especially if author/s making strong claims about outcomes
  3. Your assessment of the article's usefulness (global and specific) to your research goals
    • for example, maybe you need only the bibliography or a specific discussion of a particular theory
  4. Any useful definitions or key ideas, in quotes, with PAGE NUMBER specified!

you plan procrastination).




NOTE: you must have all four parts for each annotated bibliography entry.




Focusing your Research Topic


A good strategy for narrowing down a search is to use the "clinical model" of the health provider's encounter with a disorder: symptoms » diagnosis » treatment » prognosis + population (basic demographics of patient).  After narrowing in on a disorder, disease, or health condition you want to investigate, narrow the topic according to a stage of the clinical model (symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis).  Next, narrow the stage by defining the population you're interested in: male/female, adult/child, ethnicity/race -- for age, you can specify further by breaking down by categories in the life span or developmental process (e.g. "young adult" or "middle aged adult"; "infant" or "young child"). For example:

Search engines such as Pubmed also provide these categories as limits to place on searches which whittles down results for you.

Finally, you may be interested in the more basic science-based questions of cause (ex: What causes schizophrenia?), pathology (ex: What is the incidence of malar rash in lupus patients?), and epidemiology (ex: What is the distribution of co-morbid TB and HIV?).  Be advised that these questions assume the researcher is already familiar with the disorder according to the clinical model. If you are investigating a topic for the first time, "cause" may be too difficult to pursue, even if you are very interested in it. 


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