Scholarly Research

What are annotated bibliographies?

A bibliography, sometimes referred to as a 'reference list', is the alphabetical list of sources (e.g., books, journal/magazine articles, web sites) used in writing a research paper. Each source in a bibliography (i.e., reference list) is represented by a citation which includes the source's author, title, and publication information.

An annotated bibliography is an alphabetical list of citations with an additional description or evaluation (i.e., annotation) for each source. Each annotation should be no more than 150 words (4-6 sentences long). Annotations should be concise and well written.

The purpose of an annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the source.

Annotations versus Abstracts

Abstracts are brief summaries often found at the beginning of articles that present the main points of the work. They are not intended to evaluate the article.

Annotations go beyond summarizing the content of an article. Annotations can be descriptive or evaluative, or a combination of both. A descriptive annotation summarizes the scope and content of a work. An evaluative annotation provides critical comment.

Contents of an annotation

An annotation can contain some or all of the following:

  • Main focus or purpose of the work
  • Intended audience of the work
  • Usefulness or relevance to your research topic (or why it did not meet your research needs)
  • Special features of the work: statistics, illustrations, reference list
  • Background and qualifications of the author
  • Conclusions reached by the author
  • Conclusions or observations reached by you

Example:

What is a periodical?

The term periodical is a generic term that can include academic journals, popular magazines, professional journals, trade publications and newspapers. Periodicals are published on a regular basis, either daily, weekly, monthly, or annually. They offer news, opinion, commentary, scholarly analysis, literary criticism, and reports of research. They range from brief newsletters published by trade organizations to in-depth journals published by scientific societies and university presses. Most professors at the University level require that all or most of the periodical articles you use in writing research papers come from scholarly journals. This guide lists some comparative criteria that will help you determine if the publications you are using meets your assignment's requirements.

Types of periodicals

Popular periodicals (magazines)

These are the type of publications that you may subscribe to or purchase at the supermarket or bookstore. Articles from popular periodicals are usually not appropriate for assignments.

Scholarly periodicals (journals)

These are the type of publications that are not found in supermarkets or bookstores. The articles are serious in tone and the vocabulary can be difficult to understand.

Why use periodicals?

  • Periodicals are often the best source of information on new or current topics.
  • The subject may be too narrow for publication in a book.
  • Older periodicals contain historical information.
  • In many disciplines periodicals are the major means of communication.

Peer reviewed and Refereed

Peer reviewed

Articles in peer-reviewed journals must pass the scrutiny of reviewers who are experts in the field or on the research topic of the article. In most cases the reviewers do not know who the author of the article is. Not all information in a peer-reviewed journal is reviewed. Editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews, and other types of information don't count as articles.

Refereed

Articles in refereed journals must be reviewed by scholars or experts in the research topic of the article who are not members of the board or editorial staff of the journal. Peer reviewed and referred journals are frequently used interchangeably.

Examples

Scholarly / Trade Publications - print version

Primary Sources

What is a primary source?

  • A primary source is a document, speech, or other type of evidence created during the time period under study.
  • Primary sources reflect the viewpoint of the participant or observer and offer the researcher an inside view of a particular event.
Primary sources include :
  • Original documents such as diaries, journals, speeches, interviews, letters, memos, and manuscripts, records of organizations such as minutes, reports, and correspondence, news film footage, newspaper articles, official government records, photographs, audio recordings, video recordings, research data, an eyewitness account.
  • Creative works such as art, drama, music, novels, and poetry
  • Relics or artifacts such as physical objects, buildings, clothing, furniture, tools, toys, jewelry, and pottery.
Examples of primary sources:
  • The Bible records Hebrew customs during biblical times.
  • Plato's Republic describes individuals in ancient Greece.
  • The Declaration of Independence is an artifact fundamental to U.S. History.
  • Diary of Anne Frank records experiences of Jews in World War II.
  • Film footage of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
  • Pottery or weavings from Native American Indians.

Secondary Sources

What is a secondary source?

  • A secondary source provides interpretation and analysis of historical events or phenomenon.
  • Secondary sources are at least one step or more removed from the event and are generally written by someone other than the individual who experienced the event.
Types of secondary sources:
  • Secondary sources include journal articles, books, encyclopedias, dictionaries, and reviews.
Examples of secondary sources:
  • Histories - a book about the effects of World War I.
  • Literary criticism analyzing a poem, novel, etc.
  • Magazine or newspaper articles about events or people.
  • Political commentary analyzing an election or politician.
  • A biography written in 1997 about Plato.
  • Textbooks.
  • Encyclopedias.

What is a periodical?

The term periodical is a generic term that can include academic journals, popular magazines, professional journals, trade publications and newspapers. Periodicals are published on a regular basis, either daily, weekly, monthly, or annually. They offer news, opinion, commentary, scholarly analysis, literary criticism, and reports of research. They range from brief newsletters published by trade organizations to in-depth journals published by scientific societies and university presses. Most professors at the University level require that all or most of the periodical articles you use in writing research papers come from scholarly journals. This guide lists some comparative criteria that will help you determine if the publications you are using meets your assignment's requirements.

Types of periodicals

Popular periodicals (magazines)

These are the type of publications that you may subscribe to or purchase at the supermarket or bookstore. Articles from popular periodicals are usually not appropriate for assignments.

Scholarly periodicals (journals)

These are the type of publications that are not found in supermarkets or bookstores. The articles are serious in tone and the vocabulary can be difficult to understand.

Why use periodicals?

  • Periodicals are often the best source of information on new or current topics.
  • The subject may be too narrow for publication in a book.
  • Older periodicals contain historical information.
  • In many disciplines periodicals are the major means of communication.

Peer reviewed and Refereed

Peer reviewed

Articles in peer-reviewed journals must pass the scrutiny of reviewers who are experts in the field or on the research topic of the article. In most cases the reviewers do not know who the author of the article is. Not all information in a peer-reviewed journal is reviewed. Editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews, and other types of information don't count as articles.

Refereed

Articles in refereed journals must be reviewed by scholars or experts in the research topic of the article who are not members of the board or editorial staff of the journal. Peer reviewed and referred journals are frequently used interchangeably.

Examples

Criteria Scholarly Journal General Interest Popular Magazines Trade Publications
  JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association National Geographic Sports Illustrated Advertising Age
Audience Researchers and experts in the subject area Educated audience General public Aimed at people in the industry or organization
Authors Researchers and experts in the subject area. Names and credentials are provided. Editorial staff, scholars or free-lance writer. Credentials not provided. Staff writer or a free-lance writer.
Credentials often not provided.
Members of trade/profession.
Format Articles often have: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, bibliography graphs, tables. Articles long. Attractive in appearance, heavily illustrated generally with photographs. Slick and glossy with an attractive format.
Articles are short, providing broad overview of the topic.
Heavily illustrated with tables, charts and photos.
Language Terminology, jargon and the language of the discipline covered; reader is assumed to have knowledge of the topic. Terminology, jargon and the language of the discipline covered; reader is assumed to have knowledge of the topic. Slick and glossy with an attractive format.
Articles are short, providing broad overview of the topic.
Language of practitioners in the industry or profession; focuses on practical topics of interest to practitioners.
Purpose To inform, to report, or to share original research, experimentation or scholarship with the rest of the scholarly community. To provide general information to a wide, interested audience. To entertain, persuade or inform the general public. To provide news and information to people in a particular industry or profession.
Publisher A professional organization, a university, or a scholarly press. Commercial enterprises for profit; widely distributed. Commercial publisher. Published for profit and widely distributed. Most often published through a professional association.
References References are always cited and should be expected. Frequently have extensive bibliographies. Occasionally cites sources. May contain vague referrals to "a study published at" or "researchers have found" with no other details Not extensively documented, provide few footnotes, and rarely include bibliographies.
Peer Review References are always cited and should be expected. Frequently have extensive bibliographies. Editorial board. None. Article acceptance is based largely on the topic's consumer appeal. Editorial board.