Annotated bibliography


An annotated bibliography is a list of sources (articles, books, webpages, etc.) on your research topic.

Each source has its own entry, which includes:

  1. A citation or reference for the source--usually APA for early childhood education courses.
  2. An annotation: a paragraph summarizing the source and commenting on how it fits into the world of information on your topic.


View the full page document here.

More on formatting APA references.

What to include

Professors who assign annotated bibliographies sometimes have specific requirements for:

  • The number of sources to include.
  • The type of sources to include (i.e. journal articles, webpages, encyclopedia entries, etc.)
  • The information to include in the annotation.
  • More.

Make sure you understand the requirements of your assignment, and get help from a librarian.

Literature review

Definition: Like an annotated bibliography, a literature review is a paper or section of a paper that reviews what's already been published on your research topic.

Unlike an annotated bibliography, a literature review is written in a standard paper format, with citations grouped together on the last page.


Literature review: a scholarly conversation

Some people think of literature review as being like a party where there are lots of conversations happening at once.

Here's a 2-minute video illustrating this metaphor:

Your literature review is an overview of all the conversations going on at the party, highlighting where guests agree and disagree, and what questions are still unanswered.


Parts of a research article

In general, the parts of a primary research article should include:

  • Abstract: Summary of the research question and findings.
  • Introduction: Overview of the context of the research question, including literature review.
  • Materials/Methods: Description of the method used to collect data.
  • Results: Analysis of data and outcomes of the study.
  • Discussion: Description of how the results answer or don't answer the research question.
  • Conclusion: Summary, significance of research.
  • References: Research papers and other information sources that were referenced in the article, most prominently in the Introduction/Literature review.

Typically these sections are usually called out with headings throughout the article.

Look for these sections in the article above to help you understand the information and its purpose in each section.



Tools for writing literature review:


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