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First Year Experience: The Annotated Bibliography

Helpful information and links for students in the FYE 100 course.

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a compiled list of citations to books, articles, and documents that represent your research on a particular topic or subject. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative summary paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited. For your FYE 100 annotated bibliography, you should also briefly explain how the source will help you answer/explore your research question and support your thesis. 

The Process

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.

Next, cite the book, article, or document using the appropriate style (for FYE 100, you must use APA style).

Finally, write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the source (book, article, etc). Include a couple of sentences that (a) compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, and (b) explain how this work illuminates your topic.

Sample Entry

The following example uses APA style (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition, 2019) 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. This helps explore my research question and supports my thesis that the longer you live away from your family as a single adult, the more your attitudes and values regarding family life change. 


Some of this guide is adapted and modified from: Research & Learning Services, Olin Library @ Cornell University Library- Ithaca, NY, USA

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