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Psychology Research Methods (21:830:302)

A guide to library research

Preparing an annotated bibliography

         An annotated bibliography includes article citations with paragraphs of varying length that summarize or evaluate the article's content.  Crafting the annotated bibliography will help you learn more about the subject you want to investigate.  it will also "encourage" you to read more critically.  When you're finished with your annotated bibliography, you can determine each article's contribution to the development of your ressearch question.

      Purdue's Online Writing Lab has a great section on writing annotated bibliographies with an example in APA style.  The section on quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing as well as the section on evaluating sources might be useful to you.        

Your literature review

      A literature review identifies, summarizes and synthesizes the previously published work on your subject of interest.  It can be part of the introduction to your lab report, a research study, or an article devoted solely to the literature review.  While your annotated bibliography included a critique of each article, the literature review creates relationships among them to focus on your research question.  Your synthesis is key in providing new interpretations of the studies, demonstrating gaps, or discussing flaws in the existing studies.  The literature review can be organized by categories or in the order of your research questions/hypotheses.

      The literature review is important to you as both a reader and as a researcher.  When you are the researcher, the literature review establishes your credibility to conduct the study.  It indicates your knowledge of the subject and how your study fits into the larger realms of your discipline.  When you are the reader, the literature review provides an overview of the subject of interest and describes current research.  This can be very helpful at the exploration stage when you are developing your ideas.  When you are near the end of your library research, the literature review in a published article might be helpful in determing how thorough you have been.  You will know if you have included all relevant studies.


Please note that this page was originally created by Ann Watkins (Dana Library Life Sciences Librarian), who retired in 2018.


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