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Communication Sciences and Disorders

A useful guide for when you have to do research in the field of speech language pathology

Annotated Bibs

So you need to do an annotated bibliography.  This is one of those things that every student has to do at some point.  If you end up in a job heavy on research, you may use these all the time.  For now though, you luckily have people to help you figure out how to put an annotated bibliography together. 

The Cornell University Library has defined an annotated bibliography as:

“a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.”  Their annotated bibliography LibGuide may provide you with additional information, if you're inclined to check it out

In English, this means you are creating a paragraph that others may read to get a general idea of what your sources are about. The hardest part is being concise with your information. Annotations take practice but once you get the hang of it, they are easy.

Purdue Owl also has a section explaining Annotated Bibliographies, why you'd use them, samples and examples that you may find useful. 

Here are steps to follow for your annotated bib to make your life a bit easier:

A: Talk about the author. (1 sentence (or combine with part B))    

Is this a professor? Maybe this is a professional in the field? Or is this person a hobbyist? Tell the audience about the author in the first part of the annotation.

B: Explain what the article is about. (1-3 sentences)

Tell the audience what is in the article. This is the most difficult part of the annotation because it requires you to be very succinct. Don’t rewrite the article; just write the base facts and important notes about the article here.

C: Explain how this article illuminates your bibliography topic. (1-2 sentences)

What about this article makes it relevant to your topic? Why did you select it? What pertinent bit of information makes this article stand out among the others? This should be more specific than what you wrote in section B.

D: Compare or contrast this work with another you have cited. (1-2 sentences)

How does this specific article relate to another article in your annotated bibliography? Do they agree or not? Why not? What makes them unique?

Here's a sample of what this might look like:

The University of North Colorado evaluated their program via student surveys and realized students could find sources but were not reading them properly, so they changed their library curriculum. This a succinct article that well establishes their goals, how they gathered feedback, and how they used the feedback in real and meaningful ways. Overall their sessions were useful, and the data was sticking, but they found ways to improve their instruction through the assessments. [This covers part A & B]

This article shows that even with instruction there are gaps that needed to be addressed (and possibly still do). Focuses on fixing curriculum based on research, unlike other literature encountered to date. The others theorize and may make suggestions but do not necessarily make any changes. [This covers part C & D for my topic.]


McCartin, L. F., Evers, S., & Markowski, B. (2019). Student perceptions of information literacy skills and curriculum before and after completing a research assignment. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 45(3), 262–267.

Bibliographic Management Tools help researchers organize and manage their research. They may be able to help you format papers and create footnotes and bibliographies.

  • ESU has loaded the EndNote bibliographic management software on all general access computer labs on campus. You can use this software to save sources and create bibliographies in the various standard formats like MLA and APA.  It is not usually a desktop icon, so you'll have to look for it in the program list or search programs and files for "endnote". Here's a link to their quickstart guide.

There are also many citation building tools available on the web. These tools can be useful but you should always check your citations against the appropriate style guide to be sure the all the information is included and formatted correctly for that style.

  • Mendeley: free social software that allows you to manage and share research papers, this also creates and tracks citations, allows you to save your PDFs in one place, and also has a mobile app and desktop download.  It does a lot more, and is incredibly useful. This is probably my personal favorite because it does an amazing amount and it's free
  • Zoteroa Firefox web browser extension that is similar to Mendeley

More General Citation Creators:

  • Citationsy: this requires a login, but allows you to build a reference list quickly and easily all in one place. This is very easy to use. Don't forget to check for accuracy. Has an extension in some browsers, like Firefox.
  • Citation Generator : cloud based, ad-free, quick, easy to use and free. You can type your document and cite as you go - it's easy. Or copy and paste your paper in and create your citations after.
  • Son of Citation Machine: an interactive tool to help create reference citations