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PSY 240 - Child Psychology

This guide provides information resources to support the Child Psychology class and assignments.

Creating an Annotated Bibliography

How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography: The Annotated Bibliography created by Michael Engle

Explanation, Process, Directions, and Examples


An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.


Abstracts are the purely descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles or in periodical indexes. Annotations are descriptive and critical; they may describe the author's point of view, authority, or clarity and appropriateness of expression.


Creating an annotated bibliography calls for the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research.

First, locate and record citations to books, periodicals, and documents that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic. Briefly examine and review the actual items. Then choose those works that provide a variety of perspectives on your topic.

Cite the book, article, or document using the appropriate style.

Write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article. Include one or more sentences that (a) evaluate the authority or background of the author, (b) comment on the intended audience, (c) compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or (d) explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic.


For guidance in critically appraising and analyzing the sources for your bibliography, see the tab on this Research Guide or Cornell's How to Critically Analyze Information Sources. For information on the author's background and views, a librarian can help you find appropriate biographical reference materials and book review sources.

CHOOSING THE CORRECT FORMAT FOR THE CITATIONS--see the tab on this Research Guide for more information


The following example uses APA style (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition, 2010) for the journal citation:

Waite, L. J., Goldschneider, F. K., & Witsberger, C. (1986). Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional family orientations among young adults. American Sociological Review, 51, 541-554.

The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.


APA Formatting of an Annotated Bibliography

Published on Oct 22, 2012

*Please note a verbal error in this video regarding serif v. sans serif fonts. Times New Roman is a SERIF font. Arial or calibri are examples of sans serif fonts.

What is a DOI number and why does it matter?

DOI=digital object identifier

It is a permanent identifier that will take you straight to a document no matter where it is located on the Internet. When available they are usually part of the citation or on the main or first page of an article.

Before you begin looking for a DOI for your article you should know:  

1. Not all articles have a DOI number. While the majority of articles published today do have DOI numbers, most older articles -more than two years old-- do not. Some publishers are adding DOIs to older articles. 

2.. While some library databases provide the DOI number as part of the article's citation, this is not consistent across databases. 

When you have a DOI number you can use a DOI locator to link you to the article (sometimes in full text or sometimes just the citation.)

DOI Locators:



3. Here are some basic guidelines from APA Publication Manual (6th edition) for citing electronic sources.

  • For print or electronic journals, include the issue number only when the journal is paginated separately by issue.
  • The retrieval date and database information are not needed for articles retrieved from online sources. Instead, include the article's DOI.
  • If there is no DOI, provide the URL for the journal homepage as the second choice. The retrieval date is not required in this type of reference.
  • In the rare instances that the journal does not have its own homepage (such as for older journals no longer in print but converted to online documents), provide (a) the database homepage or (b) the name of the database and the accession number.
  • A retrieval date is only needed in the reference list for nonjournal instances where material might change at a later date.
  • For online newspaper and magazine articles you need not provide the specific page number, retrieval date, or exact article URL. You would provide only the periodical's home page.


Writing Annotations for Your Annotated Bibliography


               Annotations have two purposes.  First, an annotation indicates the type of material or information contained in the source so that a reader can judge whether the source is useful for answering a specific question that arises.  Second, an annotation serves as a record of one's research, so one doesn’t have to rely on memory.

               Annotations should be detailed, specific, and thorough. They must be written exclusively in your own words (no plagiarism.).  They should address the text although they should not consist of your responses to the text's content, though they may include your evaluation of the text's usefulness.  In addition, given the dual purpose of an annotation, it is important to annotate even those sources which you have determined that are not useful. 

 An annotation does one or more of the following:

1.  Clearly states the thesis or main points of the source.

2.  Summarizes how the material is organized.

3.  Indicates what topics are discussed and what topics are omitted.

4.  Explains the usefulness of the source for one's research purposes.

5.  Evaluates the strength and limitations of the source.

An annotation is not the same thing as an abstract.

  How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography

               As you locate and read various sources, consider some questions that you might answer or comments you wish to make in evaluating your sources.  Determining the reader's level of understanding is also an important feature.  For instance, a student audience may need general comments, while an expert audience may require more specific comments about the sources. Know your audience. Information for annotations may come from authors' use of titles, headings, key words, introductions, conclusions, summaries, indices, cross-references, and bibliographies.

Questions to consider in preparing to write your annotation:

1.  Who is the author?  What is the author's occupation, position, title, education, experience, etc.?  Is the author qualified (or not) to write on the subject?

2.  What is the purpose for writing the article/book or doing the research?

3.  To what audience is the author writing?  Is it intended for the general public, scholars, policy makers, teachers, professionals, practitioners, etc.?  Is this audience reflected in the author's style of writing or presentation?  How so? 

4.  Does the author have a bias or make assumptions upon which the rational of the publication or the research rests?

5.  What method of obtaining or conducting research was employed by the author?  Is the article (or book) based on personal opinion or experience, interviews, library research, questionnaires, laboratory experiments case studies, standardized personality tests, etc.?

6.  At what conclusions does the author arrive?

7.  Does the author satisfactorily justify the conclusions from the research or experience? Why or why not?

8.  How does this study compare with similar studies?  Is it in tune with, or in opposition to, conventional wisdom, established scholarship, professional practice, government policy, etc.?  Are there specific studies, writing, schools of thought, philosophies, etc., with which this one agrees or disagrees and of which one should be aware?

9.  Are there significant attachments or appendixes such as charts, maps, bibliographies, photos, documents, tests, or questionnaires?  If not, should there be?  

 Some questions may not apply.           

from: Engledinger, Eugene A. Bibliographic Instruction and Critical Thinking: the contribution of the annotated bibliography.   RQ, 28:2, pp.195-202, Winter. 1988 and Berea College Learning 


Herring, S. C. (2003).  Gender and power in on-line communication. In J. Holmes & M. Meyerhoff (Eds.), The handbook of language and gender (pp. 202-228). Oxford, England: Blackwell.

Herring investigates empowerment opportunities for women online. She points out that, although more than half of Web users in the United States are women, men continue to dominate technical roles such as network administrators, programmers, and Web masters. Even in anonymous online settings, males tend to dominate discussions. And online “anonymity,” argues Herring, may not really be possible: Writing style and content give off cues about gender. Herring concludes that “the Internet provides opportunities for both male and female users, but does not appear to alter societal gender stereotypes, nor has it (yet) redistributed power at a fundamental level” (p. 219). The essay is well written and well researched, and it includes a long list of useful references.

from Diana

Anderson, Gary A.  Sin: a history.  Yale, 2009.  253p bibl indexes afp; ISBN 9780300149890, $30.00.

47-4346 BL475  2009-12342 CIP

Notice the style is formatted to a particular journall -- not MLA or APA

This interdisciplinary study is scholarship at its best. Attending to changing metaphors for sin--from a weight to be carried or a stain to be cleansed to a debt to be remitted--Anderson (Notre Dame) traces the development of the concept from Leviticus and Second Isaiah to Daniel and Tobit, through the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Targums to early Syriac theologians and rabbinic sages to Anselm's soteriology. Technical discussion of (transliterated) Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek terms will be accessible to patient readers. Highlights include commentary on Jesus's instruction to pray, "Forgive us our debts"; analysis of the importance of almsgiving in Jewish and Christian practice; and historically contextualized reconsiderations of the sabbatical year, exile, and personal and communal suffering. Along with offering new insights into biblical (both Testaments), rabbinic, and patristic thought, Anderson opens new avenues for both ecumenical (Protestant/Catholic) and interfaith (Jewish/Christian) conversation about the relationships between divine justice and compassion, works and faith, suffering and atonement. The well-argued insights and lively prose far outweigh the numerous repetitions of ideas and examples. Summing Up:  Highly recommended.  Lower-level  undergraduates through researchers/faculty; general readers. -- A.-J. Levine, Vanderbilt University  found in Choice Reviews Online