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PAS 37010 - Research Methods in Pan-African Studies

What is an annotated bibliography?

Annotated bibliographies are descriptive and evaluative lists of resources. They may include citations to books, journal/magazine articles, web sites, or other materials. Annotated bibliographies start with a citation which is followed by a brief paragraph (the annotation, normally around 150 words) that describes and also evaluated the information.

Annotations are different than abstracts! Abstracts are only descriptive summaries of resources. Annotations are descriptive as well as critical; they look at the point of view of the author, clarity, authority, and usefulness of the source. 

Dos and don'ts of writing annotated bibliographies!


  • Summarize the central theme/scope of the article
  • Explain how this resource ties into the purpose or idea of your project
  • Do include information on the author


  • Do not write a "thumbs-up/thumbs-down review
  • Do not skim the article, read it carefully before writing
  • Do not plagiarize
  • Do not copy and paste the abstract


Ensign, J., & Ammerman, S. (2008). Ethical issues in research with homeless youths. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 62, 365-372. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2008.04599.x

The authors, doctors at the University of Washington and Stanford respectively, conducted research on the ethical implications of using incentives to entice homeless youths to participate in a variety of research studies. Using a web-based survey, the researchers gathered feedback from seventy-two healthcare providers, program administrators, and other researchers.  After conducting the study, it was found that researchers with different backgrounds or research goals supplied different kinds of incentives for participation in research studies. Healthcare providers conducting health-related research were most likely to offer vouchers or gift cards in exchange for research participation. Money was more often used by researchers interested in mental health or substance abuse topics to obtain homeless participants. This article speaks to my goal for taking action by protecting the rights of homeless youths from being exploited, in this case from researchers seeking data at the potential expense of the homeless individual’s welfare.