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Citing Sources and Resources

Overview

An annotated bibliography is made up of bibliographic citations plus explanatory notes. When a student is asked to prepare an annotated bibliography as part of an assignment, the bibliography will usually revolve around a specific topic and be driven by a thesis statement relevant to that assignment and the course the student is taking.

A thesis statement is a statement about the chosen topic, preferably one which will allows an argument to be produced, and places the topic more appropriately in a wider context. The thesis statement will likely: include an accepted truth or two (the basis or foundation of the topic); identify where the differing perspectives or potential controversies appear (either obviously or not); and identify the path(s) intended to be pursued.

The type of argument presented, the nature of the research undertaken, and the acceptability of the supporting evidence for suggestions, recommendations, and conclusions often depends upon the intended audience. For undergraduate students, supporting evidence often comes in the form of articles from periodicals, government documents and publications, working papers, conference proceedings, and the like. Once found, and used in the production of a paper, those items need to be properly cited.

Bibliographic citations (often called just citations or references) contain the pieces of information necessary for someone else to find the unique item being cited. A citation to a print periodical article, for instance, usually includes: the name of the author(s); the title of the article; the title of the periodical; the date of publication; the volume and issue; and the page numbers.

Coleman, J.S. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. American Journal of Sociology, 94 (1), 95-120.

A citation to an online periodical article, for instance, usually includes: the name of the author(s); the title of the article; the title of the periodical; the date of publication; the volume and issue; the persistent url; and the date of access.

Wold, C., Nicholas, W. Starting school healthy and ready to learn: using social indicators to improve school readiness in Los Angeles County. Prev Chronic Dis 2007; 4(4). http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2007/oct/07_0073.htm Accessed 16 October 2007.

Many more recent and current articles may include a DOI in the citation information.

Christina Ling-hsing Chang, The effect of an information ethics course on the information ethics values of students – A Chinese guanxi culture perspective. Computers in Human Behavior, 27 5 (2011), pp. 2028-2038 doi:10.1016/j.chb.2011.05.010

The DOI (digital object identifier) acts as a permanent marker for the specific article. It may be searched using http://dx.doi.org

The citation style (APA; MLA; Chicago / Turabian; Harvard Referencing; etc.) will depend on the discipline and the requirements of the assignment. Check with your professor if you are unsure.

If a source is found which does not provide enough information to allow it to be cited properly, students might wish to reconsider its actual value to his/her paper and consult with the professor.

An annotated bibliography is made up of bibliographic citations plus explanatory notes. These notes (annotations) generally summarize and analyze the content of an item, based on the reader's knowledge of the subject matter and critical judgment of the item. While the annotations are likely to contain personal opinions, those opinions should be justified / supported by giving a brief example, especially if they are critical of some aspect of the item being cited.

It is not enough to say the item was "interesting" or the item "will help me with my paper." The annotation should reveal why and how the item might be valuable. It is also not acceptable to say this item "was useless because it is too old", badly written, etc. for the question which then natually arises will be: "Then why did you choose to include it? / why are you citing it?"

Students sometimes confuse annotations with abstracts and summaries. An annotation is NOT simply an abstract of the item, nor is it simply a summary of the item. The element of critical thinking must be present in an annotation. Critical thinking involves the purposeful pursuit of data and information.

Bibliographical Essay

A bibliographical essay serves a function similar to an annotated bibliography, incorporating the elements of an annotated bibliography into a "narrative discussion". Usually, it will include an introduction to the topic, a brief overview or discussion of the topic, and a discussion of the resources identified by the writer.

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Abstract, Summary, or Annotation

Abstract

An abstract which accompanies a paper or other document is usually created by the author, publisher, vendor, etc. It is copyright and is an integral part of the document. Because it is based on what the author (or whoever) wants you to notice (and perhaps wants the indexer to index), it is likely to be uncritical or acritical of the content of the whole item.

Wold, C., Nicholas, W. Starting school healthy and ready to learn: using social indicators to improve school readiness in Los Angeles County. Prev Chronic Dis 2007; 4(4). http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2007/oct/07_0073.htm Accessed 16 October 2007.

Abstract
Background
School readiness is an important public health outcome, determined by a set of interdependent health and developmental trajectories and influenced by a child’s family, school, and community environments. The same factors that influence school readiness also influence educational success and health throughout life.

Context
A California cigarette tax ballot initiative (Proposition 10) created new resources for children aged 0 to 5 years and their families statewide through county-level First 5 commissions, including First 5 LA in Los Angeles County. An opportunity to define and promote school readiness indicators was facilitated by collaborative relationships with a strong emphasis on data among First 5 LA, the Children’s Planning Council, and the Los Angeles County Public Health Department, and other child-serving organizations.

Methods
A workgroup developed school readiness goals and indicators based on recommendations of the National Education Goals Panel and five key domains of child well-being: 1) good health, 2) safety and survival, 3) economic well-being, 4) social and emotional well-being, and 5) education/workforce readiness.

Consequences
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and First 5 LA Commission adopted the school readiness indicators. First 5 LA incorporated the indicators into the results-based accountability framework for its strategic plan and developed a community-oriented report designed to educate and spur school readiness-oriented action. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a countywide consensus-building plan designed to engage key stakeholders in the use of the indicators for planning, evaluation, and community-building activities.

Interpretation
School readiness indicators in Los Angeles County represent an important step forward for public health practice, namely, the successful blending of an expanded role for assessment with the ecological model.

Summary

A summary is a brief statement. It describes the main ideas found in an item in a basic form.

Wold, C., Nicholas, W. Starting school healthy and ready to learn: using social indicators to improve school readiness in Los Angeles County. Prev Chronic Dis 2007; 4(4). http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2007/oct07_0073.htm Accessed 16 October 2007.

Children in the United States begin school at about age 5. This article discusses whether those children are ready to learn when they begin school. The authors provide a list of the "social readiness goals and indicators" established in Los Angeles County and consider the supporting actions taken by various education agencies. The authors conclude that it is difficult to determine whether the indicators actually measure accountability or whether they merely contribute to success in achieving the goal without meaning to.

Annotation

An annotation is a critical summary. It is an evaluation of the content of the article. Annotations may contain opinion supported by evidence -- often a brief example from the article is given.

An annotation is NOT simply a summary of the article.

An annotation is NOT simply an abstract of the article.

An annotation is created by the reader. It draws on the reader's own experiences and knowledge of the subject under discussion. It frequently judges the validity and application of the material within a particular context.

Wold, C., Nicholas, W. Starting school healthy and ready to learn: using social indicators to improve school readiness in Los Angeles County. Prev Chronic Dis 2007; 4(4). http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2007/oct07_0073.htm Accessed 16 October 2007.

Children in the United States begin school at about age 5. This article discusses whether those children are ready to learn when they begin school. The authors explore the "social readiness goals and indicators" established in Los Angeles County and consider the actions taken by various education agencies pursuing these goals. As the authors note, it is difficult to determine whether the indicators actually measure accountability or whether they merely contribute to success in achieving the goal without meaning to. For instance, achieving the goal of "Communities offer[ing] safe places for children to live and play" is measured by whether or not children, aged 1-5 years old, have accessible parks and playgrounds where it is safe to play. However, those parks and playgrounds may have been built without reference to the goal and indeed, the measure may have preceded the goal. Several of the goals mentioned in the article (for instance, "Families ensure that children are safe from unintentional injuries" and "Communities offer affordable housing for families") have no developed indicators. This article might have been more useful if it had recognized the scope of such goals and the difficulty of achieving them without engaging partners in the wider community.


Anders, Vicki and Jackson, Kathy M. "Online vs CD-ROM -- The Impact of CD-ROM Databases upon a Large Online Searching Program." Online 12 (November 1988): 24-32.

The authors base their article on observations of users at the Evans Library of Texas A&M University. In many ways, this article is subject to the "how it is done in my library" syndrome. It provides a good picture of operations at Texas A&M but fails to offer, for example, a helpful explanation of how the figures which appear in the graphs, and upon which the whole article is based, were gathered and compiled. The lack of footnotes was disconcerting for a piece so dependent upon derived data and the conclusions drawn were not particularly insightful. It seems, for instance, fairly obvious that students will generally prefer a system of searching for which they are not charged a fee.


Duchesne, Roddy and Giesbrecht, Walter W. "CD-ROM: An Introduction." Canadian Library Journal 45 (August 1988): 214-223.

A useful introduction for a newcomer to CD-ROM technology, commenting, as it does, on: the methods of receiving, storing, and retrieving information; the hardware and software which might be used in a "typical" CD-ROM installation; and the advantages and disadvantages of the technology with especial reference to libraries. The endnotes offer a useful non-US perspective with two of the three CD-ROM interest groups cited being Canadian-based.

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Examples

The form, length, and completeness of an annotated bibliography and / or a bibliographic essay varies depending upon the requirements it may be expected to meet. Check with your professor if you are unsure what your assignment requires. Below are links to several different examples:

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Created: 1999/02/09 Last updated: 2017/10/05
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