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JOUR 2500 Foundations of Media Research: Annotated Bibliographies

Research guide for all sections of Journalism 2500.

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of sources relevant to research in a chosen topic.

Each entry in the bibliography usually includes:

  • A citation in correct APA style. This is so other researchers (or your professor) can locate the source, either for their own research or to check your work.
  • Summary of the source: its main arguments, topics covered, and so on. What is the article/book about? This is a bit like a brief version of the abstract you find at the beginning of a scholarly journal article.
  • Assessment of the source: Is it useful? Biased? How does it compare with other sources you found?
  • Reflection on how the source fits in with your research. Is it useful? Does it contain new ideas? How will you use it in your arguments?

A good annotated bibliography will include each of these elements to some extent.

This allows you to:

  • Learn about your topic, strengthening the quality of your paper.
  • Demonstrate to your professor the quality of research you did, in a form they can evaluate.
  • Organize your sources for further research.
  • Share useful sources with other researchers, in the case of a published bibliography.

Sample annotated bib entries

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. 

(from Utah State's annotated bibliography guide)

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