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BIOL 1224 General Zoology

Introduction to animal biology.

Annotated Bibliographies

Organize & Describe Your Sources

You will have an annotated bibliography as one of your assignments in this class. The resources on this page will help you create it.

What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotation is a summary and / or evaluation. Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes a summary and / or evaluation of each of the sources.

(Purdue Writing Lab, “Annotated Bibliographies” [1])
Fig. 1. A YouTube video describing an annotated bibliography [2].


How to Make It

The annotated bibliography is a tool to organize your sources and prepare to write a more extended discussion.

At the undergraduate level, the annotated bibliography is a common assignment to help students dive deeper into the literature of a particular subject.

The structure is simple: You will produce a bibliography following a standard format, similar to a reference list or list of works cited. Accompanying each bibliographic entry are one to three discussion paragraphs.

Each discussion should include the following:

  1. Summary. Summarize the content of each source to demonstrate that you have read and understood it.

  2. Evaluation. Consider the source’s relevancy to your topic. Your annotated bibliography should have a topical focus, so explain how this source fits into that topic.

  3. Criticism. Read the source critically and evaluate the soundness of its data or the reasonableness of its interpretation. How does it compare to other sources on the same subject?

How to Find Sources

For your assignment, you will need primary and secondary sources.

Primary sources are peer-reviewed articles, published in academic journals, presenting original research. Secondary sources come in a variety of formats but summarize existing research rather than presenting new findings.

Most of our research databases are hosted by the company EBSCO and have the same layout:

  • To find primary sources in an EBSCO database, simply conduct a search and then select Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals from the left sidebar after your search results appear.

    Limiters in the left sidebar of an EBSCO database.
    Fig. 2. Search limiters as they appear in the left sidebar of an EBSCO database.

    This will limit results to articles from academic journals, but keep in mind that it will exclude academic books, which may also be primary sources.

  • To find secondary sources, you may choose to limit results to Magazines or Trade Publications.

    List of source types in the left sidebar of an EBSCO database.
    Fig. 3. A list of source types to which results can be limited.

    However, one of the most useful secondary sources is the literature review, an academic publication that summares existing knowledge instead of presenting new research.

    Most of the databases cannot limit to literature reviews automatically. However, you can find them by selecting Advanced Search and following these directions:

    1. Type your search into the first search box as you normally would.

    2. In the second search box, type "literature reviews", including the quotation marks.

    3. From the dropdown menu beside the second search box, select SU Subject Terms.

    4. Run the search. The results should include only articles with Literature reviews as a designated subject term.

    Advanced search in an EBSCO database, showing dropdown menu beside the search bar.
    Fig. 4. Using advanced search in an EBSCO database.

How to Format It

Follow any instructions you receive from your professor. The formatting guidelines here do not supersede the requirements laid out for your specific class and assignment.

There are several formatting styles, any of which could be used for an annotated bibliography.

Scientific Style & Format

For example, the citations in this research guide (with slight alterations to allow for the design of our website) follow the citation–sequence style of the Council of Science Editors (CSE), which informs the typography and citation guidelines of many scientific journals.

This style guide is on reserve at the J. W. Martin Library:

American Psychological Association (APA)

Many of the departments at Northwestern Oklahoma State University follow the style of the American Psychological Association, which you may also wish to use. The official publication manual of the APA includes instructions for annotated bibliographies.

This style guide is also on reserve:

According to the Publication Manual, An annotated bibliography is a type of student paper in which reference list entries are followed by short descriptions of the work called annotations.3

See below (Fig. 5) for an example of an annotated bibliography in APA style.


Workplace Stress: Annotated Bibliography

  1. Barber, L.K., Grawitch, M. J., & Maloney, P. W. (). Work-life balance: Contemporary perspectives. In M. J. Grawitch & D. W. Ballards (Eds.), The psychologically healthy workplace: Building a win-win environment for organizations and employees (pp. 111–133). American Psychological Association.

    This book chapter provides an overview of the psychosociological concept of work–life balance. The authors discuss findings from studies showing harmful effects of work-life conflict on psychological and behavioral health as well as beneficial effects of work–life facilitation, wherein one role makes a positive contribution to the other. The chapter concludes with a description of work-life balance initiatives that organizations have adopted to help employees manage their dual work and nonwork obligations and some of the key factors influencing their effectiveness.

  2. Carlson, D. S., Thompson, M.J., & Kacmar, K. M. (). Double crossed: The spillover and crossover effects of work demands on work outcomes through the family. Journal of Applied Psychology, 104(2), 214–228.

    Carlson et al. () conducted an empirical study to examine the multiple paths through which work and family variables can affect work outcomes. Whereas Barber et al. () explored how work obligations can increase stress or enhance fulfillment at home, Carlson et al. viewed work demands as raising family stress, with potential negative consequences on work performance. Results supported a model in which direct effects of work demands and spillover effects of work demands to work-to-family conflict led to lower job satisfaction and affective commitment, as well as crossover effects of work-to-family conflict, spousal stress transmission, and later family-to-work conflict on organizational citizenship and absenteeism. Overall, the study demonstrated a link from work demands to work outcomes when considering the family, but those paths differed depending on whether attitudinal or behavioral work outcomes were examined.

Fig. 5. Sample annotated bibliography. Reprinted from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, p. 308 [3].