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Health Education and Promotion: Annotated Bibliographies


  1. Annotated Bibliographies - Document the literature research process and selection decisions.
  2. Literature Reviews - Recognize the purpose and structure of a literature review.
  3. Advanced Search Strategies - Review advanced search techniques that accomplished researchers regularly use.
  4. Literature Review Matrix - Opens in Google Docs. This is just one suggested tool for organizing literature.

Annotated Bibliography

Annotated bibliographies tell the story of the critical thinking that goes on during the information seeking and selection phases of literature research. The purpose of an annotated bibliography is to document your review of literature on your topic and to illustrate the quality of research that you have done. 

Always refer first to your instructor's expectations for annotations when provided. The following may provide additional ideas for your analysis. See the UW-Madison Writing Center guide for additional guidance.

Double space citations and annotations.

Organize the annotations alphabetically.

Annotations may consist of the following elements:

1. A properly formatted citation in the required style (APA, MLA, Turabian, etc.)

2. One to two well-constructed paragraphs addressing any number of the following:

    • Credibility of the source
      • identify the type of information (trade journal article, scholarly journal, peer-reviewed article, government report, editorial, etc.)
      • note the author'(s') affiliations and/or credentials (laundry lists are not necessary)
      • note whether the author(s) has conducted other research on the topic of interest
    • Hypothesis and goals of the research
    • Research methods and subjects employed
    • Conclusions the author(s) draw
    • Text features
      • note whether there are appendices, bibliographies, illustrations, survey tools, etc.; Are they valuable or not? If there are none, should there be?
    • Relationship to other works
      • compare the article to others in your literature review
      • note whether it conflicts with conventional wisdom, established scholarship, government policy, or other articles in your review
    • Bias
      • identify author's assumptions, either stated or not, that may affect interpretation 
      • note whether the authors present a balanced presentation of evidence or if they favor a particular perspective or interpretation
      • note whether the authors acknowledge or omit opposing perspectives or interpretations
    • Usefulness of the item to the literature review
      • For example, does this fill a gap in the information provided by other sources or reinforce? Does it add a different perspective?
    • Brief explanation of how/where you found the source (your search strategy). 
      • For example, did you find it using backward or forward citation searching and from what particular article? What key terms did you use? Which search tools such as databases or Google Scholar did you use?

Additional suggestions are included on the Citing Sources LibGuide, Annotated Bibliographies.

Sample Annotation