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  • ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY GUIDELINES An annotated bibliography consists of a synopsis of research conducted within a defined subject area. The objective is to obtain a relatively comprehensive understanding of current research activities through a review of the literature. A variety of sources may be included (e.g. newspaper, magazines, and internet) however, books and peer-reviewed journal articles are the most common, and generally of higher academic quality. Therefore, an annotated bibliography should have more of the latter, and be more selective in the inclusion of the former. An annotated bibliography need not be exhaustive. A good strategy is to start by identifying recent sources and working backwards, using the list of references contained within those sources. Alternatively, some of the databases that the BU library subscribes to not only allow you to access a list of references within an article, but also list more recent papers that have cited that article. The general format of an annotated bibliography should include:

    1. Title Page Indicates topical area(s) concerned

    2. Table of Contents (list of entries often arrange by topic/field and date) 3. Individual Annotations (usually no more than one page in length) that include:

    Reference for the source using a standard format (e.g. MLA, CJES, GPQ) Affiliation of author(s) (i.e. govt agency, academic institution, etc.) Location of source (e.g. library, interlibrary loan, online database, etc.) Brief description of article, chapter, book, etc. that normally includes:

    i. Purpose/objectives ii. Study area

    iii. Methods iv. Results v. Conclusions

    List of main points and significant contributions Evaluation of methods and conclusions Usefulness/relevance of source

    4. Discussion Synthesis of literature reviewed

    i. Summary of methods, results, conclusions (this may be a page or two, and summarize each section/theme of the annotated bibliography, where subthemes have been identified).

    5. Conclusions Level of current understanding (where the literature has made significant

    contributions) Future directions (notable gaps in the literature)