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.
The process you follow to develop a literature review is very similar to conducting a research study. You begin with a research problem, collect data, evaluate the data, analyze and interpret it and then prepare your work to share with others.
Analysis and interpretation
A literature review identifies, summarizes and synthesizes the previously published work on your subject of interest. It can be part of the introduction to a lab report, a research study, or an article devoted solely to the literature review. If you began your writing with an annotated bibliography, it included a summary of each article. In contrast, the literature review is critical; it provides an evaluation of each article and creates relationships among the articles 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 determining how thorough you have been. You will know if you have included all relevant studies.
The Writing Lab at Purdue has a very helpful useful handout on writing literature reviews. It includes two sets of questions to help you with revisions to your review. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/994/04/
As you work on your data collection (searching the Libraries’ databases and reading articles), documentation is vital. By keeping your notes in one place, you can avoid anxiety and time investment in searching multiple sites where you might have put your notes. The location you choose might be print such as a research notebook or digital. Dropbox, Evernote, and Word or Excel have been used successfully by other students.
You might also consider creating an account in the database where you’re spending the most time with your searches. This can be very helpful when you’re doing a lot of searches on related topics. Most databases will give you the option of saving searches to your account. Then you can rerun them or edit them if you choose. The list of save searches will let you know where you’ve been.
Making optimal use of the citation manager you’ve chosen can also help out. These programs will not only store journal article citations in folders you’ve created but also permit you to add your personal notes and attach the fulltext article to the citation. In the case of EndNote, you can annotate the fulltext article right within the citation manager and have your notes saved
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