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All Biology: Research Annotations

What is an Annotated Bibliography or a research annotation

What is an Annotated Bibliography (AB)?

An annotated bibliography (AB) is a list of citations (journal articles, books, etc) where each citation is followed by a brief (about 120-150 words) evaluative and descriptive paragraph of the article (i.e. a summary of the research article in your own words). The purpose of annotating is for the reader to get the "gist" of the article by reading this one paragraph. I recommend that in your paragraph(s) [i.e., annotation] you expose the author's point of view, key findings, and show how their work is relevant (e.g., strengthens, has opposing views, complements, provides a new perspective) to your topic. As you build your AB ask yourself: (a) is the article/source adding information to your topic, (b) is it contradicting or confirming ideas you may have read previously about, (c) is it a new source, (d) is the author an authority in the area (e.g., published a lot in good journals)? Asking these questions will help you put together a succint annotated bibliography that will later provide key information to put your presentation together. It will also save you: (a) time, since recalling what the article is about will be easier after reading other papers for your topic, and (b) reduce the chances of word-for-word plagiarism because the summary will be in your words (you will still need an in-text citation though).

In general: summarize, assess and reflect on the work you are reading. By doing this you are engaging in the analysis of the article in meaningful ways- it will pay off later when you put your presentation or article together.

FYI: An annotated bibliography is NOT a copy of the ABSTRACT but it can be seen as your REVIEW of THE LITERATURE.

For more details on Annotated Bibliographies check out the resources below.

Cornell: http://www.library.cornell.edu/olinuris/ref/research/skill28.htm

Purdue: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/614/01/

University of Wisconsin: http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/AnnotatedBibliography.html

LITERATURE REVIEW

What is a literature Review? How is this different or the same as a review paper?

A literature review can be: (a) a simple summary of the sources in a narrow topic within a subject area of interest or (b) it can be an organized summary and synthesis of the same topic/subject in the form of a paper. Some literature reviews, if standalone, could become review papers or survey papers. The latter usually relatet papers to one another, present what is the most important things in the field at present and perhaps provides future directions of work in such a field. These papers usually are longer and may have thousands of references associated to them.

Another way of thinking about this is that if the literature review is part of a "thesis or dissertation", it helps provide a context for the research and has less references than an actual review paper. However, if this review is a standalone paper that helps synthesize and summarize information in that particular (subject/field) then we could argue that it is a review paper or survey paper.

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