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Below are tips for how to write an annotated bibliography.
Annotated bibliographies are usually done in preparation for a number of types of writings, including college papers, published articles, theses and dissertations. In the case of this assignment you will not be writing a paper (you have written many while progressing through your degree and should be quite skilled in composing papers by the time you reach this the capstone course), but demonstrating that you can construct an annotated bibliography that would be used for one.
You may not have ever had to construct an annotated bibliography before. It requires you to read and briefly summarize each article you plan to use for a college paper. Put simply, the annotated bibliography is like an extension of the APA style “References” list of published sources that is placed at the end of one’s writing with the addition of a very brief summary paragraph (usually around 150 words) underneath each source listed. These summaries should include not just synopses of what you read in articles but also statements about each article’s connection to another in relation to a larger assignment topic. Summaries in the annotated bibliography may look very similar to an abstract that you have seen in a published article but the two serve different purposes. Author abstracts merely summarize what to expect when reading the article and, of course, aren’t in the reader’s words. In writing the annotated bibliography you are summarizing in your own words, and both for your own use and your prof’s evaluation, each article you would like to use for the literature review. Students sometimes find a stack of articles, either literally if printed out or in electronic form if on their PCs or laptops, intimidating and unmanageable. The annotated bibliography helps you get a sense, as you compare the brief bibliography summaries, of how your selected articles connect or don’t connect thematically with each other and to a larger topic. If they don’t connect, it’s time to go back to the library and conduct another search.
An example from an annotated bibliography for a paper focused on family living situations and variability in household sex roles is below to give you an idea of what a bibliography entry for it would look like. Note the last sentence in the summary for this example, “In contrast, an earlier study by Williams, Barnes and Daniels cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.” It refers to an article not shown, which would go below the Waite, Goldschneider and Witsberger (1986) article, because, as is also the case with any APA formatted “References” list, articles in an annotated bibliography are arranged alphabetically by last name of first author of each article; thus in this case, an article with Williams as the first author would be next on the list after one with Waite as the first author (also note when viewing this example that APA requires double line-spacing within citations but the annotation [very brief article summary] doesn’t have to be double-spaced—this is a rare exception to the typical APA double-spacing rule); but more importantly, this sentence shows clearly how the example article summarized here and the next one that would follow it would be connected by the common threads “non-family living” and “sex roles”, which are variables examined in both articles. This exemplifies what is meant by “thematically related.” Your articles don’t have to have all their variables in common but there should be a clear connection between them and this sample is a great example of that. Also note that the article example below is about research actually conducted by its authors (this is what is meant by “evidence-based”) and not somebody's opinions about, expertise and/or observations on a topic. You must use “evidence-based” articles like this one in your annotated bibliography, regardless of how expert on the topic the author of an expert opinion or observation on a topic article may be.
Finally, note that this example comes from a journal titled “Sociological Review”. The journals you use need to have a psychology focus. Although many do, not all psychology related journals have the word psychology in them. Marriage and Family Review and the Journal of Vocation Behavior are examples of the many, many journals that are acceptable even though they don’t have the word “psychology” in their titles. You may want to check out the websites, http://psych.hanover.edu/Krantz/journal.html and http://www.ldb.org/soc-jour.htm for an idea of just how many there are, and these are not complete lists! (NOTE: These websites are for information only. There is no guarantee