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Annotated Bibliographies

Learn about the anatomy of an annotated bibliography. See an example of those requirements and recommendations in practice.

How do I create an annotated bibliography?

  1. First, collect all of the references you plan to use.
  2. Put them in a reference list like you would use at the end of your paper. Follow all the rules for the citation style you are using.
  3. Then, for each citation, include a paragraph or two explaining why you are using that source. What is unique about it? What important fact, idea, or data did you find in it? Some sources might not be perfect. Does your source have any limitations?  [For example, is it outdated? Was anything about the article confusing?]

 

First Tip: Follow Citation Styles

Each reference in your bibliography follows the rules for your citation style, such as APA style.

Feng, C., Osgood, N. D., & Dyck, R. F. (2018). Low birth weight, cumulative obesity dose, and the risk of incident type 2 diabetes. Journal of Diabetes Research, 2018, Article 8435762. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/8435762

Second Tip: Indent Notes After Each Reference

Your notes for each reference come immediately after your reference. Your notes are indented so that each citation is easy to find.

Feng, C., Osgood, N. D., & Dyck, R. F. (2018). Low birth weight, cumulative obesity dose, and the risk of incident type 2 diabetes. Journal of Diabetes Research, 2018, Article 8435762. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/8435762

This study shows the complexity of identifying risk factors and, unlike other studies, closely examines the roles of obesity and birth weight. In this large cohort study of people in Britain, the researchers examined the roles of several demographic factors as well as a few different measures of weight and BMI changes. This study did not see a link between low birth weight and the risk ...

Third Tip: Use Appropriate Reference Order

The references in your bibliography appear in the same order they would in the reference list at the end of your paper. In APA style, that means that they are listed in alphabetical order by the first author’s last name.

Feng, C., Osgood, N. D., & Dyck, R. F. (2018). Low birth weight, cumulative obesity dose, and the risk of incident type 2 diabetes. Journal of Diabetes Research, 2018, Article 8435762. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/8435762

This study shows the complexity of identifying risk factors and, unlike other studies, closely examines the roles of obesity and birth weight. . . .

Ivarsdottir, E. V., Steinthorsdottir, V., Daneshpour, M. S., Thorleifsson, G., Sulem, P., Holm, H., Sigurdsson, S., Hreidarsson, A. B., Siggurdson, G., Bjarnason, R., Thorsson, A. V., Benediktsson, R., Eyjolfsson, G., Sigurdardottir, O., Zeinali, S., Azizi, F., Thorsteinsdottier, U., Gudbjartsson, D. F., & Stefansson, K. (2017). Effect of sequence variants on variance in glucose levels predicts type 2 diabetes risk and accounts for heritability. Nature Genetics, 49(9), 1398-1402. https://doi.org/10.1038/ng.3928

Fourth Tip: Justify Your Sources

Explain why each reference is useful for your paper.

The real value of this article is in the supplementary materials the authors shared. The authors included a copy of the code they used to calculate the differences between all of their samples. It can be modified to be used with other genetic traits. In addition, the authors also linked out to a set of open access genetic data sets for type 2 diabetes research. Both sets of information make this article super useful for additional genetic research.

Fifth Tip: Highlight Important Details

Include specific data, facts, or other unique information you want to use in your paper.

Overall, they found a 2.4% incidence rate for diabetes in their study population . . .

Sixth Tip: Note Limitations

Include limitations of each source.

The study’s findings may not be generalizable to other areas of the world due to differences in diabetes’ prevalence and incidence, the health care structures in place, and environmental factors.

Seventh Tip: Note Themes and Conflicts

You might notice some themes in what you are writing. Or, you might notice that different sources conflict. These themes and conflicts will be useful for organizing your literature review when you write your paper.

 

. . . no one factor alone can predict if a person will develop diabetes. . .

. . . it shows the complexity of identifying risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. . .

. . . This reinforces the idea that diabetes has several interacting causes. . .

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