How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography: The Annotated Bibliography

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Explanation, Process, Directions, and Examples

What is an annotated bibliography.

An annotated bibliography is 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.

Annotations vs. Abstracts

Abstracts are the purely descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles or in periodical indexes. Annotations are descriptive and critical; they may describe the author's point of view, authority, or clarity and appropriateness of expression.

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.

Cite the book, article, or document using the appropriate style.

Write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article. Include one or more sentences that (a) evaluate the authority or background of the author, (b) comment on the intended audience, (c) compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or (d) explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic.

Critically Appraising the Book, Article, or Document

For guidance in critically appraising and analyzing the sources for your bibliography, see How to Critically Analyze Information Sources . For information on the author's background and views, ask at the reference desk for help finding appropriate biographical reference materials and book review sources.

Choosing the Correct Citation Style

Check with your instructor to find out which style is preferred for your class. Online citation guides for both the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) styles are linked from the Library's Citation Management page .

Sample Annotated Bibliography Entries

The following example uses APA style ( Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 7th edition, 2019) for the journal citation:

Waite, L., Goldschneider, F., & Witsberger, C. (1986). Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional family orientations among young adults. American Sociological Review, 51 (4), 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 example uses MLA style ( MLA Handbook , 9th edition, 2021) for the journal citation. For additional annotation guidance from MLA, see 5.132: Annotated Bibliographies .

Waite, Linda J., et al. "Nonfamily Living and the Erosion of Traditional Family Orientations Among Young Adults." American Sociological Review, vol. 51, no. 4, 1986, pp. 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.

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How to Write an Annotated Bibliography - APA Style (7th Edition)

What is an annotation, how is an annotation different from an abstract, what is an annotated bibliography, types of annotated bibliographies, descriptive or informative, analytical or critical, to get started.

An annotation is more than just a brief summary of an article, book, website, or other type of publication. An annotation should give enough information to make a reader decide whether to read the complete work. In other words, if the reader were exploring the same topic as you, is this material useful and if so, why?

While an abstract also summarizes an article, book, website, or other type of publication, it is purely descriptive. Although annotations can be descriptive, they also include distinctive features about an item. Annotations can be evaluative and critical as we will see when we look at the two major types of annotations.

An annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources (like a reference list). It differs from a straightforward bibliography in that each reference is followed by a paragraph length annotation, usually 100–200 words in length.

Depending on the assignment, an annotated bibliography might have different purposes:

  • Provide a literature review on a particular subject
  • Help to formulate a thesis on a subject
  • Demonstrate the research you have performed on a particular subject
  • Provide examples of major sources of information available on a topic
  • Describe items that other researchers may find of interest on a topic

There are two major types of annotated bibliographies:

A descriptive or informative annotated bibliography describes or summarizes a source as does an abstract; it describes why the source is useful for researching a particular topic or question and its distinctive features. In addition, it describes the author's main arguments and conclusions without evaluating what the author says or concludes.

For example:

McKinnon, A. (2019). Lessons learned in year one of business.  Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting ,  30 (4), 26–28. This article describes some of the difficulties many nurses experience when transitioning from nursing to a legal nurse consulting business. Pointing out issues of work-life balance, as well as the differences of working for someone else versus working for yourself, the author offers their personal experience as a learning tool. The process of becoming an entrepreneur is not often discussed in relation to nursing, and rarely delves into only the first year of starting a new business. Time management, maintaining an existing job, decision-making, and knowing yourself in order to market yourself are discussed with some detail. The author goes on to describe how important both the nursing professional community will be to a new business, and the importance of mentorship as both the mentee and mentor in individual success that can be found through professional connections. The article’s focus on practical advice for nurses seeking to start their own business does not detract from the advice about universal struggles of entrepreneurship makes this an article of interest to a wide-ranging audience.

An analytical or critical annotation not only summarizes the material, it analyzes what is being said. It examines the strengths and weaknesses of what is presented as well as describing the applicability of the author's conclusions to the research being conducted.

Analytical or critical annotations will most likely be required when writing for a college-level course.

McKinnon, A. (2019). Lessons learned in year one of business.  Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting ,  30 (4), 26–28. This article describes some of the difficulty many nurses experience when transitioning from nursing to a nurse consulting business. While the article focuses on issues of work-life balance, the differences of working for someone else versus working for yourself, marketing, and other business issues the author’s offer of only their personal experience is brief with few or no alternative solutions provided. There is no mention throughout the article of making use of other research about starting a new business and being successful. While relying on the anecdotal advice for their list of issues, the author does reference other business resources such as the Small Business Administration to help with business planning and professional organizations that can help with mentorships. The article is a good resource for those wanting to start their own legal nurse consulting business, a good first advice article even. However, entrepreneurs should also use more business research studies focused on starting a new business, with strategies against known or expected pitfalls and issues new businesses face, and for help on topics the author did not touch in this abbreviated list of lessons learned.

Now you are ready to begin writing your own annotated bibliography.

  • Choose your sources - Before writing your annotated bibliography, you must choose your sources. This involves doing research much like for any other project. Locate records to materials that may apply to your topic.
  • Review the items - Then review the actual items and choose those that provide a wide variety of perspectives on your topic. Article abstracts are helpful in this process.
  • The purpose of the work
  • A summary of its content
  • Information about the author(s)
  • For what type of audience the work is written
  • Its relevance to the topic
  • Any special or unique features about the material
  • Research methodology
  • The strengths, weaknesses or biases in the material

Annotated bibliographies may be arranged alphabetically or chronologically, check with your instructor to see what he or she prefers.

Please see the  APA Examples page  for more information on citing in APA style.

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Sample Annotations

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SAMPLE DESCRIPTIVE ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY ENTRY FOR A JOURNAL ARTICLE

The following example uses the APA format 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 (4), 541-554.

This example uses the MLA format for the journal citation. NOTE: Standard MLA practice requires double spacing within citations.

Waite, Linda J., Frances Kobrin Goldscheider, and Christina Witsberger. "Nonfamily Living and the Erosion of Traditional Family Orientations Among Young Adults." American Sociological Review 51.4 (1986): 541-554. Print.

More Sample Annotations

  • ​​ Annotated Bibliography Examples
  • ​ Annotated Bibliography Samples

The University of Toronto offers  an example  that illustrates how to summarize a study's research methods and argument.

The Memorial University of Newfoundland presents  these examples of both descriptive and critical annotations.

The Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin gives examples  of the some of the most common forms of annotated bibliographies.

The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina gives examples of several different forms of annotated bibliographies in 3 popular citation formats: 

  • MLA Example
  • APA Example
  • CBE Example

This page was adapted with permission from the following:

http://guides.library.cornell.edu/annotatedbibliography

How to prepare an annotated bibliography Research & Learning Services Olin Library Cornell University Library  Ithaca, NY, USA

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The Research Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

  • Introduction
  • Select Topic
  • Identify Keywords
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  • Evaluate Sources
  • Primary & Secondary Sources
  • Types of Periodicals
  • Organize / Take Notes
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Annotated Bibliography

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The quality and usefulness of your bibliography will depend on your selection of sources. Define the scope of your research carefully so that you can make sound judgments about what to include and exclude.

  • Purdue OWL- Annotated Bibliography

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents that follows the appropriate style format for the discipline (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc). Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 word) descriptive and evaluative paragraph -- the annotation. Unlike abstracts, which are purely descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles or in periodical indexes, annotations are descriptive and critical. 

The purpose of the annotation is to  inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited .  The annotation exposes the author's point of view, clarity and appropriateness of expression, and authority.

How do I create an annotated bibliography?

  • Locate and record citations to books, periodicals, and documents that contain useful information and ideas on your topic.
  • Review the items. Choose those sources that provide a  variety of perspectives on your topic.
  • Cite the book, article, or document using the appropriate style. 
  • Write a concise annotation that  summarizes the central theme and scope o f the item.

Include  one or more sentences  that:

o    evaluate the authority or background of the author, 

o    comment on the intended audience, 

o    compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or 

o    explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic.

The annotation should include most, if not all, of the following elements:

  • Explanation of the main purpose and scope of t he cited work;
  • Brief description of the work's format and content;
  • Theoretical basis and currency of the author's argument; 
  • Author's intellectual / academic credentials; 
  • Work's intended audience;
  • Value and significance of the work as a contribution to the subject under consideration;
  • Possible shortcomings or bias in the work;
  • Any significant special features of the work (e.g., glossary, appendices, particularly good index);
  • Your own brief impression of the work.

An annotated bibliography is an  original work created by you  for a wider audience, usually faculty and colleagues. Copying any of the above elements from the source and including it in your annotated bibliography is plagiarism and intellectual dishonesty.

SAMPLE ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY ENTRY FOR A JOURNAL ARTICLE

The following example uses APA style ( Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 6th edition, 2010)  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.

This example uses MLA style ( MLA Handbook , 8th edition, 2016)  for the journal citation.

Waite, Linda J., et al. "Nonfamily Living and the Erosion of Traditional Family Orientations Among Young Adults."  American Sociological Review,  vol. 51, no. 4, 1986, pp. 541-554.

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How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

Writing annotations.

  • Introduction
  • New RefWorks
  • Formatting Citations
  • Sample Annotated Bibliographies

An annotation is a brief note following each citation listed on an annotated bibliography.  The goal is to briefly summarize the source and/or explain why it is important for a topic.  They are typically a single concise paragraph, but might be longer if you are summarizing and evaluating.

Annotations can be written in a variety of different ways and it’s important to consider the style you are going to use.  Are you simply summarizing the sources, or evaluating them?  How does the source influence your understanding of the topic?  You can follow any style you want if you are writing for your own personal research process, but consult with your professor if this is an assignment for a class.

Annotation Styles

  • Combined Informative/Evaluative Style - This style is recommended by the library as it combines all the styles to provide a more complete view of a source.  The annotation should explain the value of the source for the overall research topic by providing a summary combined with an analysis of the source.  

Aluedse, O. (2006). Bullying in schools: A form of child abuse in schools.  Educational Research Quarterly ,  30 (1), 37.

The author classifies bullying in schools as a “form of child abuse,” and goes well beyond the notion that schoolyard bullying is “just child’s play.” The article provides an in-depth definition of bullying, and explores the likelihood that school-aged bullies may also experience difficult lives as adults. The author discusses the modern prevalence of bullying in school systems, the effects of bullying, intervention strategies, and provides an extensive list of resources and references.

Statistics included provide an alarming realization that bullying is prevalent not only in the United States, but also worldwide. According to the author, “American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million victims.” The author references the National Association of School Psychologists and quotes, “Thus, one in seven children is a bully or a target of bullying.” A major point of emphasis centers around what has always been considered a “normal part of growing up” versus the levels of actual abuse reached in today’s society.

The author concludes with a section that addresses intervention strategies for school administrators, teachers, counselors, and school staff. The concept of school staff helping build students’ “social competence” is showcased as a prevalent means of preventing and reducing this growing social menace. Overall, the article is worthwhile for anyone interested in the subject matter, and provides a wealth of resources for researching this topic of growing concern.

(Renfrow & Teuton, 2008)

  • Informative Style -  Similar to an abstract, this style focuses on the summarizing the source.  The annotation should identify the hypothesis, results, and conclusions presented by the source.

Plester, B., Wood, C, & Bell, V. (2008). Txt msg n school literacy: Does texting and knowledge of text abbreviations adversely affect children's literacy attainment? Literacy , 42(3), 137-144.

Reports on two studies that investigated the relationship between children's texting behavior, their knowledge of text abbreviations, and their school attainment in written language skills. In Study One, 11 to 12 year-old children reported their texting behavior and translated a standard English sentence into a text message and vice versa. In Study Two, children's performance on writing measures were examined more specifically, spelling proficiency was also assessed, and KS2 Writing scores were obtained. Positive correlations between spelling ability and performance on the translation exercise were found, and group-based comparisons based on the children's writing scores also showed that good writing attainment was associated with greater use of texting abbreviations (textisms), although the direction of this association is not clear. Overall, these findings suggest that children's knowledge of textisms is not associated with poor written language outcomes for children in this age range. 

(Beach et al., 2009)

  • Evaluative Style - This style analyzes and critically evaluates the source.  The annotation should comment on the source's the strengths, weaknesses, and how it relates to the overall research topic.

Amott, T. (1993). Caught in the Crisis: Women in the U.S. Economy Today . New York: Monthly Review Press.

A very readable (140 pp) economic analysis and information book which I am currently considering as a required collateral assignment in Economics 201. Among its many strengths is a lucid connection of "The Crisis at Home" with the broader, macroeconomic crisis of the U.S. working class (which various other authors have described as the shrinking middle class or the crisis of de-industrialization).

(Papadantonakis, 1996)

  • Indicative Style - This style of annotation identifies the main theme and lists the significant topics included in the source.  Usually no specific details are given beyond the topic list . 

Example: 

Gambell, T.J., & Hunter, D. M. (1999). Rethinking gender differences in literacy. Canadian Journal of Education , 24(1) 1-16.

Five explanations are offered for recently assessed gender differences in the literacy achievement of male and female students in Canada and other countries. The explanations revolve around evaluative bias, home socialization, role and societal expectations, male psychology, and equity policy.

(Kerka & Imel, 2004)

Beach, R., Bigelow, M., Dillon, D., Dockter, J., Galda, L., Helman, L., . . . Janssen, T. (2009). Annotated Bibliography of Research in the Teaching of English.  Research in the Teaching of English,   44 (2), 210-241. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/27784357

Kerka, S., & Imel, S. (2004). Annotated bibliography: Women and literacy.  Women's Studies Quarterly,  32 (1), 258-271. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/233645656?accountid=2909

Papadantonakis, K. (1996). Selected Annotated Bibliography for Economists and Other Social Scientists.  Women's Studies Quarterly,   24 (3/4), 233-238. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40004384

Renfrow, T.G., & Teuton, L.M. (2008). Schoolyard bullying: Peer victimization an annotated bibliography. Community & Junior College Libraries, 14(4), 251-­275. doi:10.1080/02763910802336407

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14.1 Compiling Sources for an Annotated Bibliography

Learning outcomes.

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Integrate your ideas with ideas from related sources.
  • Locate, compile, and evaluate primary, secondary, and tertiary research materials related to your topic.

A bibliography is a list of the sources you use when doing research for a project or composition. Named for the Greek terms biblion , meaning “book,” and graphos , meaning “something written,” bibliographies today compile more than just books. Often they include academic journal articles, periodicals, websites, and multimedia texts such as videos. A bibliography alone, at the end of a research work, also may be labeled “References” or “Works Cited,” depending on the citation style you are using. The bibliography lists information about each source, including author, title, publisher, and publication date. Each set of source information, or each individual entry, listed in the bibliography or noted within the body of the composition is called a citation .

Bibliographies include formal documentation entries that serve several purposes:

  • They help you organize your own research on a topic and narrow your topic, thesis, or argument.
  • They help you build knowledge.
  • They strengthen your arguments by offering proof that your research comes from trustworthy sources.
  • They enable readers to do more research on the topic.
  • They create a community of researchers, thus adding to the ongoing conversation on the research topic.
  • They give credit to authors and sources from which you draw and support your ideas.

Annotated bibliography expand on typical bibliographies by including information beyond the basic citation information and commentary on the source. Although they present each formal documentation entry as it would appear in a source list such as a works cited page, an annotated bibliography includes two types of additional information. First, following the documentation entry is a short description of the work, including information about its authors and how it was or can be used in a research project. Second is an evaluation of the work’s validity, reliability, and/or bias. The purpose of the annotation is to summarize, assess, and reflect on the source. Annotations can be both explanatory and analytical, helping readers understand the research you used to formulate your argument. An annotated bibliography can also help you demonstrate that you have read the sources you will potentially cite in your work. It is a tool to assist in the gathering of these sources and serves as a repository. You won’t necessarily use all the sources cited in your annotated bibliography in your final work, but gathering, evaluating, and documenting these sources is an integral part of the research process.

Compiling Sources

Research projects and compositions, particularly argumentative or position texts, require you to collect sources, devise a thesis, and then support that thesis through analysis of the evidence, including sources, you have compiled. With access to the Internet and an academic library, you will rarely encounter a shortage of sources for any given topic or argument. The real challenge may be sorting through all the available sources and determining which will be useful.

The first step in completing an annotated bibliography is to locate and compile sources to use in your research project. At the beginning, you do not need to be highly selective in this process, as you may not ultimately use every source. Therefore, gather any materials—including books, websites, professional journals, periodicals, and documents—that you think may contain valuable ideas about your topic. But where do you find sources that relate to your argument? And how do you choose which sources to use? This section will help you answer those questions and choose sources that will both enhance and challenge your claim, allowing you to confront contradictory evidence and synthesize ideas, or combine ideas from various sources, to produce a well-constructed original argument. See Research Process: Accessing and Recording Information for more information about sources and synthesizing information.

Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Sources

In your research, you likely will use three types of sources: primary, secondary, and tertiary. During any research project, your use of these sources will depend on your topic, your thesis, and, ultimately, how you intend to use them. In all likelihood, you will need to seek out all three.

Primary Sources

Primary sources allow you to create your own analysis with the appropriate rhetorical approach. In the humanities disciplines, primary sources include original documents, data, images, and other compositions that provide a firsthand account of an event or a time in history. Typically, primary sources are created close in time to the event or period they represent and may include journal or diary entries, newspaper articles, government records, photographs, artworks, maps, speeches, films, and interviews. In scientific disciplines, primary sources provide information such as scientific discoveries, raw data, experimental and research results, and clinical trial findings. They may include published studies, scientific journal articles, and proceedings of meeting or conferences.

Primary sources also can include student-conducted interviews and surveys. Other primary sources may be found on websites such as the Library of Congress , the Historical Text Archive , government websites, and article databases. In all academic areas, primary sources are fact based, not interpretive. That is, they may be commenting on or interpreting something else, but they themselves are the source. For example, an article written during the 1840s condemning the practice of enslavement may interpret events occurring then, but it is a primary source document of its time.

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources , unlike primary sources, are interpretive. They often provide a secondhand account of an event or research results, analyze or clarify primary sources and scientific discoveries, or interpret a creative work. These sources are important for supporting or challenging your argument, addressing counterarguments, and synthesizing ideas. Secondary sources in the humanities disciplines include biographies, literary criticism, and reviews of the fine arts, among other sources. In the scientific disciplines, secondary sources encompass analyses of scientific studies or clinical trials, reviews of experimental results, and publications about the significance of studies or experiments. In some instances, the same item can serve as both a primary and a secondary source, depending on how it is used. For example, a journal article in which the author analyzes the impact of a clinical trial would serve as a secondary source. But if you instead count the number of journal articles that feature reports on a particular clinical trial, you might use them as primary sources because they would then serve as data points.

Table 14.1 provides examples of how primary and secondary sources often relate to one another.

Tertiary Sources

In addition to primary and secondary sources, you can use a tertiary source to summarize or digest information from primary and/or secondary sources. Because tertiary sources often condense information, they usually do not provide enough information on their own to support claims. However, they often contain a variety of citations that can help you identify and locate valuable primary and secondary sources. Researchers often use tertiary sources to find general, historical, or background information as well as a broad overview of a topic. Tertiary sources frequently placed in the secondary-source category include reference materials such as encyclopedias, textbooks, manuals, digests, and bibliographies. For more discussion on sources, see The Research Process: Where to Look for Existing Sources .

Authoritative Sources

Not all sources are created equally. You likely know already that you must vet sources—especially those you find on the Internet—for legitimacy, validity, and the presence of bias. For example, you probably know that the website Wikipedia is not considered a trustworthy source because it is open to user editing. This accessibility means the site’s authority cannot be established and, therefore, the source cannot effectively support or refute a claim you are attempting to make, though you can use it at times to point you to reliable sources. While so-called bad sources may be easy to spot, researchers may have more difficulty discriminating between sources that are authoritative and those that pose concerns. In fact, you may encounter a general hierarchy of sources in your compilation. Understanding this hierarchy can help you identify which sources to use and how to use them in your research.

Peer-Reviewed Academic Publications

This first tier of sources—the gold standard of research—includes academic literature, which consists of textbooks, essays, journals, articles, reports, and scholarly books. As scholarly works, these sources usually provide strong evidence for an author’s claims by reflecting rigorous research and scrutiny by experts in the field. These types of sources are most often published, sponsored, or supported by academic institutions, often a university or an academic association such as the Modern Language Association (MLA) . Such associations exist to encourage research and collaboration within their discipline, mostly through publications and conferences. To be published, academic works must pass through a rigorous process called peer review , in which scholars in the field evaluate it anonymously. You can find peer-reviewed academic sources in library catalogs, in article databases, and through Google Scholar online. Sometimes these sources require a subscription to access, but students often receive access through their school.

Academic articles, particularly in the social and other sciences, generally have most or all of the following sections, a structure you might recognize if you have written lab reports in science classes:

  • Abstract . This short summary covers the purpose, methods, and findings of the paper. It may discuss briefly the implications or significance of the research.
  • Introduction . The main part of the paper begins with an introduction that presents the issue or main idea addressed by the research, establishes its importance, and poses the author’s thesis.
  • Review . Next comes an overview of previous academic research related to the topic, including a synthesis that makes a case for why the research is important and necessary.
  • Data and Methods . The main part of the original research begins with a description of the data and methods used, including what data or information the author collected and how the author used it.
  • Results . Data and methods are followed by results, detailing the significant findings from the experiment or research.
  • Conclusion . In the conclusion, the author discusses the results in the context of the bigger picture, explaining the author’s position on how these results relate to the earlier review of literature and their significance in the broad scope of the topic. The author also may propose future research needs or point out unanswered questions.
  • Works Cited or References . The paper ends with a list of all sources the author used in the research, including the review of literature. This often-overlooked portion of the composition is critical in evaluating the credibility of any paper that involves research.

Credible Nonacademic Sources

These sources, including articles, books, and reports, are second in authority only to peer-reviewed academic publications. Credible nonacademic sources are often about current events or discoveries not yet reviewed in academic circles and often provide a wider-ranging outlook on your topic. Peer-reviewed texts tend to be narrow and specific, whereas nonacademic texts from well-researched sources are often more accessible and can offer a broader perspective. These three major categories generally provide quality sources:

  • Information, white papers, and reports from government and international agencies such as the United Nations , the World Health Organization , and the United States government
  • Longer articles and reports from major newspapers, broadcast media, and magazines that are well regarded in academic circles, including the New York Times , the Wall Street Journal , the BBC, and the Economist
  • Nonacademic books written by authors with expertise and credentials, who support their ideas with well-sourced information

To find nonacademic sources, search for .gov or .org sites related to your topic. A word of caution, however: know that sources ending in .org are often advocacy sites and, consequently, inherently biased toward whatever cause they are advocating. You also can look at academic article databases and search articles from major newspapers and magazines, both of which can be found online.

Short Informational Texts from Credible Websites and Periodicals

The next most authoritative sources are shorter newspaper articles or other pieces on credible websites. These articles tend to be limited in scope, as their authors report on a single issue or event. Although they do not often provide in-depth analysis, they can be a source of credible facts to support your argument. Alternatively, they can point you in the direction of more detailed or rigorous sources that will enhance your research by tracing the original texts or sources on which the articles are based. Usually, you can find these sources through Internet searches, but sometimes you may have difficulty determining their credibility.

Judging Credibility

To judge credibility, begin by looking for the author or organization publishing the information. Most periodical compositions contain a short “About the Author” blurb at the beginning or end of the article and often include a link to the author’s credentials or to more information about them. Using this information, you can begin to determine their expertise and, potentially, any agenda the author or organization may have. For example, expect a piece discussing side effects of medical marijuana written by a doctor to present more expertise than the same piece written by a political lobbyist. You also can determine whether bias is present; for example, the organization may promote a particular way of thinking or have an agenda that will influence the content and language of the composition. In general, look for articles written with neutral expertise.

The CRAAP Test

You may find the CRAAP test a helpful and easy-to-remember tool for testing credibility. This checklist provides you with a method for evaluating any source for both reliability and credibility. CRAAP stands for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. The CRAAP test, as shown in Table 14.2 , includes questions that can be asked of any source.

Sources with Clear Bias or Unclear Authority

The final type of source encompasses nearly everything else. Although they cannot be considered credible or valid to support your argument or claims, these sources are not necessarily useless. Especially when you are compiling sources at the beginning of a project, those with clear bias or unclear authority can be useful as you explore all facets of a topic, including positions within an argument. These sources also can help you identify topics on which to base your search terms and can even point you toward more credible sources.

Locating Sources

Academic article databases are the best starting places for finding sources. There are too many databases to cover them all in this chapter, but you would be wise to familiarize yourself with those to which you have access through your school or program. For further information on databases, see The Research Process: Where to Look for Existing Sources . In the long run, this knowledge will save you a good deal of time and a possible headache.

You will want to start with your college library website, which includes access to sources paid for by your institution. As a student, you should be able to access these quickly and easily. Another popular and wide-ranging database is Google Scholar . Google Scholar is helpful for finding sources across a wide range of topics. One drawback, however, is that it catalogues nearly all disciplines, so the results can be vast and unfocused. Therefore, when using Google Scholar, be as specific as possible, and add your academic discipline as a keyword. For example, when searching for information on climate change, add the keyword “environment” or “politics” depending on your research angle; otherwise, the results will include all disciplines and potentially bury the articles you seek. Google Scholar also has a feature labeled “Cited by,” which shows you other papers that cite the article in their review of literature relate to the topic. Writing Process: Informing and Analyzing contains more information about focusing your searches. Like clues to a mystery, one search can lead you to a wealth of related articles.

When you are able to identify potential sources by reading their abstracts or using Google Scholar, you may at times land on a publisher’s website that requires you to pay to read the full article. When you find yourself in a situation such as this, record information about the article—author(s), article title, journal title, publication date. It is likely that you will be able to use your school’s database to access the article. For information about other databases, consult The Research Process: Where to Look for Existing Sources .

Just as writing is recursive , requiring you to go back and forth between different stages of the process, you will likely return to your annotated bibliography at different points. You may begin by looking for sources related to your topic, or you may choose or narrow your topic after an initial database search for sources. If your project has a variety of possible topics, you may even start with a current issue of a leading journal in the field, find an article that interests you, and use that article to shape your topic selection. As a bonus, you will have your first reputable source. Later, as you refine your thesis, reasoning, and evidence, you may find yourself returning to your search for sources. Consider this hypothetical situation: You are developing an argument that examines the risk factors of childhood trauma that surface in later life. As you analyze the data from your sources, it occurs to you to find out whether any documented correlation exists between early trauma and resilience. So you return to Google Scholar and your university’s academic database to find more research based on this idea in order to revise your analysis by adding the new viewpoint.

One difficulty may be homing in on the keywords that will lead you to the sources you need. At this point, sources from the last two categories discussed may come into play: short pieces from credible websites and newspapers and other texts with clear bias or unclear authority. Less credible sources may lead you to better ones, particularly if you can identify the keywords used in them and then apply those keywords within academic databases. For more on developing useful keywords, consult The Research Process: Where to Look for Existing Sources .

Boolean Operators

Keyword searches can become frustrating, either yielding so much information that it seems impossible to sort through or narrowing the search so much that you miss important potential sources. One way to remedy this situation is to become familiar with Boolean operators , the basis of mathematical sets and database logic. Rather than searching with natural language only, you can use these operators to focus your search. The three basic Boolean operators are AND , OR , and NOT . Using these operators helps you search by linking necessary information, excluding irrelevant information, and focusing information. For example, if you have some pieces of information from tertiary sources, you may be able to use Boolean operators to find additional useful sources. A search string such as artificial intelligence (title) AND Buiten (author) AND 2019 (year) can yield the exact journal source you need. Here is a brief review of how to use the three operators:

  • Use AND to narrow search results and tell the database to include all search terms in finding sources. If you want to find sources that include all of the search terms entered, use the AND operator. In Figure 14.11 , the darkest blue triangular section in the center of the Venn diagram represents the result set for this search, including all three terms. In many databases, including Google, AND is implied between each word. To exclude AND, use quotation marks. For example, Google would translate the search term ethics artificial intelligence as ethics AND artificial AND intelligence . To make your phrases more specific, use the AND operator combined with quotation marks: “ethics” AND “artificial intelligence” .
  • Use OR to connect two or more similar concepts and broaden your results, telling the search engine that any of your search terms can appear in the results it gives you. The Boolean operator OR is represented by Figure 14.12 . Using the OR operator gives you a very large set of results.
  • Use NOT to exclude results from a search. This operator can help you narrow your search, telling the search engine to ignore names or words you do not want included in your results. For example, if you know you don’t want self-driving cars in your search results, you might search for “artificial intelligence” NOT “self-driving cars” .

Choosing Sources

Choosing sources to include in your annotated bibliography may seem overwhelming. However, if you can find a few good academic articles as a starting point, use them to guide your research. Academic articles are efficient, scrutinized by experts in their fields, and organized in ways that aid readers in identifying key findings that relate to their argument. The following tips will help you choose solid sources to guide your research:

  • Look for relevant scholarly articles. Even the briefest Google search can yield an overwhelming amount of content. Sift through it by looking first through academic databases to find high-quality sources relevant to your research.
  • Read abstracts. As you sift through scholarly articles, you can get a good idea of what each one is about by reading the abstract. It includes the findings and will show you in about 100 words whether the paper holds relevance to your research.
  • Skim. Once you have determined that an article may be useful, skim each section to glean the information you need. Closer and more extensive reading can come later as you develop and support your argument.
  • Avoid getting bogged down in technical information or industry-specific jargon. The benefit of reading peer-reviewed research is that you know the reviewers have determined it to be solidly constructed. Therefore, even if you don’t understand some portions completely, you can still feel confident about using relevant information from the article.
  • Work smarter by using the research provided. Once you have identified an article that is helpful to your research, use it to find more like it. Search for other publications by the authors; researchers often spend much of their careers researching one overarching topic or theme. Use the review of literature to identify related articles that may add to your research. You can also use the article’s bibliography to find additional sources. Or reverse engineer the process: use article databases to find other articles that cite the article in their literature reviews.

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Research Process :: Step by Step

  • Introduction
  • Select Topic
  • Identify Keywords
  • Background Information
  • Develop Research Questions
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  • Evaluate Sources
  • Types of Periodicals
  • Reading Scholarly Articles
  • Primary & Secondary Sources
  • Organize / Take Notes
  • Writing & Grammar Resources
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Literature Review
  • Citation Styles
  • Paraphrasing
  • Privacy / Confidentiality
  • Research Process
  • Selecting Your Topic
  • Identifying Keywords
  • Gathering Background Info
  • Evaluating Sources

annotated research journal

The quality and usefulness of your bibliography will depend on your selection of sources. Define the scope of your research carefully to make sound judgments about what you include and exclude.

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents that follows the appropriate style format for the discipline (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc). Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 word) descriptive and evaluative paragraph -- the annotation. Unlike abstracts, which are purely descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles or in periodical indexes, annotations are descriptive and critical. 

The purpose of the annotation is to  inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited .  The annotation exposes the author's point of view, clarity and appropriateness of expression, and authority.

How do I create an annotated bibliography?

  • Locate and record citations to books, periodicals, and documents that contain useful information and ideas on your topic.
  • Review the items. Choose those sources that provide a  variety of perspectives on your topic.
  • Cite the book, article, or document using the appropriate style. 
  • Write a concise annotation that  summarizes the central theme and scope o f the item.

Include  one or more sentences  that:

o    evaluate the authority or background of the author, 

o    comment on the intended audience, 

o    compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or 

o    explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic.

The annotation should include most, if not all, of the following elements:

  • Explanation of the main purpose and scope of t he cited work;
  • Brief description of the work's format and content;
  • Theoretical basis and currency of the author's argument; 
  • Author's intellectual / academic credentials; 
  • Work's intended audience;
  • Value and significance of the work as a contribution to the subject under consideration;
  • Possible shortcomings or bias in the work;
  • Any significant special features of the work (e.g., glossary, appendices, particularly good index);
  • Your own brief impression of the work.

An annotated bibliography is an  original work created by you  for a wider audience, usually faculty and colleagues. Copying any of the above elements from the source and including it in your annotated bibliography is plagiarism and intellectual dishonesty.

SAMPLE ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY ENTRY FOR A JOURNAL ARTICLE

The following example uses APA style ( Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 6th edition, 2010)  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.

This example uses MLA style ( MLA Handbook , 8th edition, 2016)  for the journal citation.

Waite, Linda J., et al. "Nonfamily Living and the Erosion of Traditional Family Orientations Among Young Adults."  American Sociological Review,  vol. 51, no. 4, 1986, pp. 541-554.

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How to Write a Research Paper: Annotated Bibliography

  • Anatomy of a Research Paper
  • Developing a Research Focus
  • Background Research Tips
  • Searching Tips
  • Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Journals
  • Thesis Statement
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Citing Sources
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Literature Review
  • Academic Integrity
  • Scholarship as Conversation
  • Understanding Fake News
  • Data, Information, Knowledge

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

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Check out the resources available from the  Writing Center . 

Write an Annotated Bibliography

What is an annotated bibliography?

It is a list of citations for various books, articles, and other sources on a topic. 

An annotation is a short summary and/or critical evaluation of a source.

Annotated bibliographies answer the question: "What would be the most relevant, most useful, or most up-to-date sources for this topic?"

 Annotated bibliographies can be part of a larger research project, or can be a stand-alone report in itself. 

Annotation versus abstracts 

An abstract is a paragraph at the beginning of the paper that discusses the main point of the original work. They typically do not include evaluation comments. 

Annotations can either be descriptive or evaluative. The annotated bibliography looks like a works cited page but includes an annotation after each source cited. 

Types of Annotations: 

Descriptive Annotations: Focuses on description. Describes the source by answering the following questions. 

Who wrote the document?

What does the document discuss?

When and where was the document written? 

Why was the document produced?

How was it provided to the public?

Evaluative Annotations: Focuses on description and evaluation. Includes a summary and critically assess the work for accuracy, relevance, and quality. 

Evaluative annotations help you learn about your topic, develop a thesis statement, decide if a specific source will be useful for your assignment, and determine if there is enough valid information available to complete your project.

What does the annotation include?

Depending on your assignment and style guide, annotations may include some or all of the following information. 

  • Should be no more than 150 words or 4 to 6 sentences long. 
  • What is the main focus or purpose of the work?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • ​How useful or relevant was the article to your topic?
  • Was there any unique features that useful to you?
  • What is the background and credibility of the author?
  • What are any conclusions or observations that your reached about the article?

Which citation style to use?

There are many styles manuals with specific instructions on how to format your annotated bibliography. This largely depends on what your instructor prefers or your subject discipline. Check out our citation guides for more information. 

Additional Information

Why doesn't APA have an official APA-approved format for annotated bibliographies?

Always consult your instructor about the format of an annotated bibliography for your class assignments. These guides provide you with examples of various styles for annotated bibliographies and they may not be in the format required by your instructor. 

Citation Examples and Annotations

Book Citation with Descriptive Annotation

Liroff, R. A., & G. G. Davis. (1981). Protecting open space: Land use control in the Adirondack Park. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger.

This book describes the implementation of regional planning and land use regulation in the Adirondack Park in upstate New York. The authors provide program evaluations of the Adirondack Park Agency’s regulatory and local planning assistance programs.

Journal Article Citation with Evaluative Annotation

Gottlieb, P. D. (1995). The “golden egg” as a natural resource: Toward a normative theory of growth management. Society and Natural Resources, 8, (5): 49-56.

This article explains the dilemma faced by North American suburbs, which demand both preservation of local amenities (to protect quality of life) and physical development (to expand the tax base). Growth management has been proposed as a policy solution to this dilemma. An analogy is made between this approach and resource economics. The author concludes that the growth management debate raises legitimate issues of sustainability and efficiency.

Examples were taken from http://lib.calpoly.edu/support/how-to/write-an-annotated-bibliography/#samples

Book Citation

Lee, Seok-hoon, Yong-pil Kim, Nigel Hemmington, and Deok-kyun Yun. “Competitive Service Quality Improvement (CSQI): A Case Study in the Fast-Food Industry.” Food Service Technology 4 (2004): 75-84.

In this highly technical paper, three industrial engineering professors in Korea and one services management professor in the UK discuss the mathematical limitations of the popular SERVQUAL scales. Significantly, they also aim to measure service quality in the fast-food industry, a neglected area of study. Unfortunately, the paper’s sophisticated analytical methods make it inaccessible to all but the most expert of researchers.

Battle, Ken. “Child Poverty: The Evolution and Impact of Child Benefits.”  A Question of Commitment: Children's Rights in Canada . Ed. Katherine Covell and R.Brian Howe. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. 2007. 21-44.

             Ken Battle draws on a close study of government documents, as well as his own research as an extensively-published policy analyst, to explain Canadian child benefit programs.  He outlines some fundamental assumptions supporting the belief that all society members should contribute to the upbringing of children.  His comparison of child poverty rates in a number of countries is a useful wake-up to anyone assuming Canadian society is doing a good job of protecting children.  Battle pays particular attention to the National Child Benefit (NCB), arguing that it did not deserve to be criticized by politicians and journalists.  He outlines the NCB’s development, costs, and benefits, and laments that the Conservative government scaled it back in favour of the inferior Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB).  However, he relies too heavily on his own work; he is the sole or primary author of almost half the sources in his bibliography.  He could make this work stronger by drawing from others' perspectives and analyses.  However, Battle does offer a valuable source for this essay, because the chapter provides a concise overview of government-funded assistance currently available to parents.  This offers context for analyzing the scope and financial reality of child poverty in Canada.

Journal Article Example

  Kerr, Don and Roderic Beaujot. “Child Poverty and Family Structure in Canada, 1981-1997.”  Journal of Comparative Family Studies  34.3 (2003): 321-335.

             Sociology professors Kerr and Beaujot analyze the demographics of impoverished families.  Drawing on data from Canada’s annual Survey of Consumer Finances, the authors consider whether each family had one or two parents, the age of single parents, and the number of children in each household.  They analyze child poverty rates in light of both these demographic factors and larger economic issues.  Kerr and Beaujot use this data to argue that. 

Examples were taken from  http://libguides.enc.edu/writing_basics/ annotatedbib/mla

Check out these resources for more information about Annotated Bibliographies. 

  • Purdue Owl- Annotated Bibliographies
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill- Annotated Bibliographies
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What is An Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of sources (books, articles, websites, etc.) with short paragraph about each source. An annotated bibliography is sometimes a useful step before drafting a research paper, or it can stand alone as an overview of the research available on a topic.

Each source in the annotated bibliography has a citation - the information a reader needs to find the original source, in a consistent format to make that easier. These consistent formats are called citation styles.  The most common citation styles are MLA (Modern Language Association) for humanities, and APA (American Psychological Association) for social sciences.

Annotations are about 4 to 6 sentences long (roughly 150 words), and address:

  •     Main focus or purpose of the work
  •     Usefulness or relevance to your research topic 
  •     Special features of the work that were unique or helpful
  •     Background and credibility of the author
  •     Conclusions or observations reached by the author
  •     Conclusions or observations reached by you

Annotations versus Abstracts

Many scholarly articles start with an abstract, which is the author's summary of the article to help you decide whether you should read the entire article.  This abstract is not the same thing as an annotation.  The annotation needs to be in your own words, to explain the relevance of the source to your particular assignment or research question.

Annotated Bibliography video

MLA 9th Annotated Bibliography Examples

Ontiveros, Randy J.  In the Spirit of a New People: The Cultural Politics of the Chicano Movement . New York UP, 2014.

This book analyzes the journalism, visual arts, theater, and novels of the Chicano movement from 1960 to the present as articulations of personal and collective values. Chapter 3 grounds the theater of El Teatro Campesino in the labor and immigrant organizing of the period, while Chapter 4 situates Sandra Cisneros’s novel  Caramelo  in the struggles of Chicana feminists to be heard in the traditional and nationalist elements of the Chicano movement. Ontiveros provides a powerful and illuminating historical context for the literary and political texts of the movement.

Journal article

Alvarez, Nadia, and Jack Mearns. “The Benefits of Writing and Performing in the Spoken Word Poetry Community.”  The Arts in Psychotherapy , vol. 41, no. 3, July 2014, pp. 263-268.  ScienceDirect ,  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aip.2014.03.004 .

Spoken word poetry is distinctive because it is written to be performed out loud, in person, by the poet. The ten poets interviewed by these authors describe “a reciprocal relationship between the audience and the poet” created by that practice of performance. To build community, spoken word poets keep metaphor and diction relatively simple and accessible. Richness is instead built through fragmented stories that coalesce into emotional narratives about personal and community concerns.  This understanding of poets’ intentions illuminates their recorded performances.

*Note, citations have a .5 hanging indent and the annotations have a 1 inch indent. 

  • MLA 9th Sample Annotated Bibliography

APA 7th Annotated Bibliography Examples

Alvarez, N. & Mearns, J. (2014). The benefits of writing and performing in the spoken word poetry community.  The Arts in Psychotherapy, 41 (3), 263-268.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aip.2014.03.004 Prior research has shown narrative writing to help with making meaning out of trauma. This article uses grounded theory to analyze semi-structured interviews with ten spoken word poets.  Because spoken word poetry is performed live, it creates personal and community connections that enhance the emotional development and resolution offered by the practice of writing. The findings are limited by the small, nonrandom sample (all the participants were from the same community).

  • APA 7th Sample Annotated Bibliography
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What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a summary and evaluation of a resource. According to Merriam-Webster, a bibliography is “the works or a list of the works referred to in a text or consulted by the author in its production.” Your references (APA) or Works Cited (MLA) can be considered a bibliography. A bibliography follows a documentation style and usually includes bibliographic information (i.e., the author(s), title, publication date, place of publication, publisher, etc.). An annotation refers to explanatory notes or comments on a source.

An annotated bibliography, therefore, typically consists of:

Documentation for each source you have used, following the required documentation style.

For each entry, one to three paragraphs that:

Begins  with a summary ,

Evaluates  the reliability of the information,

Demonstrates  how the information relates to previous and future research.

Entries in an annotated bibliography should be in alphabetical order.

** Please note: This may vary depending on your professor’s requirements.

Why Write an Annotated Bibliography?

Why Write an Annotated Bibliography

Writing an annotated bibliography will help you understand your topics in-depth.

An annotated bibliography is useful for organizing and cataloging resources when developing an argument.

Formatting an Annotated Bibliography

Formatting Annotated Bibliographies

  • Use 1-inch margins all around
  • Indent annotations ½ inch from the left margin.
  • Use double spacing.
  • Entries should be in alphabetical order.

Structure of an Annotated Bibliography

This table provides a high-level outline of the structure of a research article and how each section relates to important information for developing an annotated bibliography.

Annotated Bibliography Sample Outline

Author, S. A. (date of publication). Title of the article.  Title of Periodical, vol.  (issue), page-page.  https://doi.org/XXXXXX

Write one or two paragraphs that focus on the study and its findings.

  • Two or more sentences that outline the thesis, hypothesis, and population of the study.
  • Two or more sentences that discuss the methodology.
  • Two or more sentences that discuss the study findings.  
  • One or more sentences evaluating the study and its relationship to other studies.

Sample Annotated Bibliographies

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Annotated primary scientific literature: A pedagogical tool for undergraduate courses

Matthew kararo.

1 Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, United States of America

2 STEM Transformation Institute, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, United States of America

Melissa McCartney

Annotated primary scientific literature is a teaching and learning resource that provides scaffolding for undergraduate students acculturating to the authentic scientific practice of obtaining and evaluating information through the medium of primary scientific literature. Utilizing annotated primary scientific literature as an integrated pedagogical tool could enable more widespread use of primary scientific literature in undergraduate science classrooms with minimal disruption to existing syllabi. Research is ongoing to determine an optimal implementation protocol, with these preliminary iterations presented here serving as a first look at how students respond to annotated primary scientific literature. The undergraduate biology student participants in our study did not, in general, have an abundance of experience reading primary scientific literature; however, they found the annotations useful, especially for vocabulary and graph interpretation. We present here an implementation protocol for using annotated primary literature in the classroom that minimizes the use of valuable classroom time and requires no additional pedagogical training for instructors.

This Community Page article presents Science in the Classroom (SitC), a tool for undergraduate educators to introduce their students to primary scientific literature. Annotations scaffold the readers so that authentic scientific practices are explained and recognized for their importance in scientific communications.

A major output of public research universities is primary scientific literature, in addition to educating students and conferring degrees. It is imperative for researchers and universities to increase the transparency and outreach of the primary research literature they produce. However, most primary scientific literature remains unknown and/or inaccessible to the public, because it is published in journals targeting academics in the same field and is often placed behind journal paywalls [ 1 ].

Public research universities also have a responsibility to produce scientifically literate graduates [ 2 , 3 ]. Many students graduate without an understanding of scientific practices and an acculturation to interpreting scientific communication, especially primary scientific literature [ 4 , 5 ]. One way to potentially improve scientific literacy overall and develop specific skills, such as interpreting scientific communication, is to incorporate primary scientific literature into the undergraduate curricula and provide pedagogical tools that may help bridge the divide between everyday language and the language used by experts [ 6 – 11 ].

The study of primary scientific literature as a pedagogical tool in undergraduate biology courses has led to innovative approaches. The most well-known of these may be the Consider, Read, Elucidate the hypotheses, Analyze and interpret the data, and Think of the next Experiment (CREATE) method, in which faculty redesign their existing courses around primary scientific literature in order to provide an intensive and comprehensive analysis of primary scientific literature for undergraduates [ 6 , 12 – 14 ]. Although this type of a semester-long innovative elective course provided student benefits, adding an entire course to a degree sequence may prove difficult and by definition, does not impact students that choose not to include them in an already credit-crunched plan of study. This credit-crunch is especially prevalent at institutions such as the one in this study, Florida International University (FIU), where any additional credit hours are charged at out-of-state tuition rates. Therefore, it would benefit biology education, and biology as a field of study, to develop innovative ways to utilize primary scientific literature as a pedagogical tool, ideally with a minimal impact to existing plans of study and time investment from course instructors.

A growing body of research shows that less-intensive interventions using primary scientific literature can be valuable and useful in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, with the greatest amount of research happening at the undergraduate level. Programs include journal clubs, data and figure exploration, and tutorials on how to read primary scientific literature [ 15 – 17 ]. Assessment tools used to evaluate these interventions are equally as diverse, ranging from rubrics to validated surveys [ 18 , 19 ].

Annotated primary scientific literature

Annotated primary scientific literature is designed to help readers interpret complex science by overlaying additional information on a scientific research article. Preserving the original text and its context is what makes annotated primary scientific research literature unique from other genres that modify or rewrite the original text. This preservation is the key difference between annotated primary scientific literature and adapted primary literature, an approach that takes portions of primary scientific literature and rewrites the original content to turn them into pedagogical tools [ 20 ]. Science in the Classroom (SitC; www.scienceintheclassroom.org ) is a highly developed and sophisticated example of annotated primary scientific literature that we decided has potential for classroom pedagogical use.

SitC, a collection of freely available annotated papers, aims to make primary scientific research literature more accessible to students and educators. The repository of annotated primary scientific literature articles is accessible to educators and searchable by keyword, classified by topics, and grouped in collections. The process of reading and deconstructing scientific literature in undergraduate courses has been shown to result in students potentially gaining an understanding of scientific practices, such as how scientists design their experiments and present their results, essentially allowing students to experience the logic behind drawing conclusions from a set of data [ 6 , 7 , 12 – 14 ].

Annotated primary scientific literature uses the original text of research articles along with a “Learning Lens” overlay, designed to provide students tools to use for interpretation. The “Learning Lens” is used to selectively highlight different parts of the text and is composed of seven headings: Glossary, Previous work, Author's experiments, Conclusions, News and policy links, Connect to learning standards, and References and notes, which are color-coded to match the corresponding text of the research article. For example, an annotated glossary term, when clicked on, will produce a pop-up box containing the definition of the word ( Fig 1 ). Annotations contained within the “Learning Lens” have been designed to be at the reading comprehension level of a first-year undergraduate student, and ongoing evaluation efforts have provided evidence that this goal is being met [ 21 ].

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is pbio.3000103.g001.jpg

Annotated primary literature as a pedagogical tool

Annotations provide an educational scaffold that could help students become more comfortable with reading scientific papers. We propose annotated primary scientific literature as an example of a resource that can be incorporated into existing courses and provide scaffolding that may help undergraduate students develop skills necessary to read primary scientific literature while requiring a minimal time investment from instructors. Using annotated primary scientific literature as a pedagogical tool not only could potentially help universities develop scientifically literate graduates, but it may also broaden the impact of primary scientific research literature produced by faculty.

The previously mentioned pedagogical tools and curriculum transformations can require a substantial investment of time and effort from the university, faculty, and staff. Therefore, additional tools and opportunities should be considered in order to achieve a wider variety of complementary opportunities for teaching with authentic scientific practices and engaging students in reading primary scientific literature [ 22 ]. We hypothesize that the incorporation of annotated primary scientific literature in the classroom represents one of these opportunities.

In this pilot study, we had a goal of developing an implementation protocol that could incorporate annotated primary scientific literature into undergraduate courses with a minimal time investment for instructors and minimal disruption and alteration to existing courses and plans of study.

Implementation of annotated primary scientific literature

All data were collected in accordance with an approved FIU Institutional Review Board protocol #17–0398 and #17–0105. Our initial attempts to develop an implementation protocol for using annotated primary scientific literature as a pedagogical tool had the educational goal of introducing students to the “Learning Lens” annotations and observing how instructors and students used the tool. Initial attempts to incorporate annotated primary scientific literature focused on undergraduate biology courses at FIU, including General Biology II, Ecology, and Plant Life History. The implementation sessions were run iteratively during the same semester, ensuring that students did not overlap, and each class had only one implementation session. We describe two variations of our implementations here.

Students involved in the study self-reported their major, with 76% being biology majors. We did not collect any data on students’ prior knowledge of biology, but the majority of students in these classes are first- or second-year students.

We used the same annotated piece of primary scientific literature for all in-class activities described in this study: “Caffeine in floral nectar enhances a pollinator's memory of reward” ( https://tinyurl.com/k7m329g ). We chose an article that incorporated many different aspects of biology, including evolution, ecosystem interactions, basic botany, learning and memory, and animal behavior in a single study, making this paper applicable in a wide variety of undergraduate courses.

The objectives were to introduce undergraduate students to annotated primary scientific literature and collect baseline data on how students interacted with the annotations themselves. The first implementation involved a one-time intervention, connected to the student’s coursework, conducted by the researchers and began with an approximately 5-minute orientation to annotated primary scientific literature. This orientation included how to use the “Learning Lens” and a brief overview of the importance of primary scientific literature. Students were then given 20 minutes to read the selected piece of annotated primary scientific literature. At the 20-minute time point, a Qualtrics (online survey software; Provo, Utah and Seattle, Washington) link was provided, and if they were done reading, students could begin answering the feedback questionnaire. Students were given an additional 20 minutes to complete the questionnaire. Collecting and analyzing this first round of pilot data allowed for reflection on opportunities for iterative improvement.

In addition to the questionnaire data, feedback was collected through in-class activity observations conducted by the researchers. We kept detailed field notes indicating when students appeared on task, i.e., independently interacting with annotated primary scientific literature. We also noted when alternative tasks were observed, i.e., students checking email or social media, and when task completion appeared to have occurred. During the implementation, our in-class observations estimated an average time on task, i.e., interacting with annotated primary scientific literature, to be 10 minutes, because there was a noticeable increase in classroom noise after this time point. We confirmed this by using Adobe Analytics (Adobe, San Jose, California), which measures the time spent on a website by each user. We measured an average time spent on annotated primary scientific literature of 13 minutes. Due to limitations of Adobe Analytics, we are unable to collect individual data points and were limited to an aggregate average for the entire class. Note that the difference between the observed time spent on the activity and the digital measure can be explained by Adobe Analytics averaging all participants’ time spent on the article page.

The main student feedback was collected through a questionnaire containing both quantitative (content questions) and qualitative items (i.e., “what did you like about this activity?”). One of the key ideas we garnered from the qualitative data was that a one-time intervention was perceived by students as somewhat discordant when a connection between the article they read and the content they were covering at the time in their course was not made explicit by their course instructor ( Table 1 ).

When asked if the topic of the paper related to their course, students in this iteration gave feedback such as this activity was “only slightly relevant to the course,” and “no, we[‘re] studying plants” despite the article being explicitly about caffeine production by plants in order to attract pollinators. Additionally, we were uncertain that we had connected with the students as researchers in the same way as the instructor with whom the students had built a relationship.

Although some students may have not perceived a connection between the article content and their course content, in general, students found the annotations useful, especially regarding graphs and vocabulary interpretation. Examples of student responses can be seen in Table 2 .

For our second iteration, we decided to address the issues of students feeling discordant by having the course instructors introduce the article and annotated primary scientific literature activity themselves. Additionally, we asked instructors to explicitly connect the annotated paper to current course content. With both of these procedures in place, the average time students engaged with the annotated article, as measured by Adobe Analytics, increased to 19 minutes ( Fig 2 ).

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is pbio.3000103.g002.jpg

This new implementation, in which the instructor introduced the piece of annotated primary scientific literature and annotated primary scientific literature activity, not only appeared to increase the time that students engaged with the material, but it also removed the manpower requirement for the researchers to be present in every classroom in order to describe and implement the activity. This could allow for a more widespread implementation of annotated primary scientific literature as a pedagogical tool. It was also apparent that students introduced to the activity by their course instructor were more readily able to recognize the connections between reading primary scientific research literature and their course content, which can be seen in student responses in Table 3 .

When asked if the topic of the paper related to their course, students in this iteration stated “This article related to 3 different courses I am taking this semester,” “yes it most certainly did,” “yes! We’re learning about pollination,” and that “…scientific papers on new experiments …are important.”

During the initial iterations of the implementation protocol, students read the annotated articles and completed an assessment during class time. However, a growing concern was feasibility of an in-class assignment due to the time requirement and allowing for instructor flexibility in scheduling. While observing a senior lecturer at FIU, who was not involved in this current study, and his existing implementation method of students reading primary scientific literature as homework and answering iClicker questions at the beginning of the following class, the researchers noticed an increased enthusiasm among the students during the class discussion. Supporting this observation, the history of research on the use of clickers in the classroom shows an increase in feelings of class involvement [ 23 ] and learning gains in students [ 24 ]. Because of the observations and support from instructors, the decision was made to adopt the homework protocol moving forward with future implementations. The homework protocol allows for more instructor freedom in selecting articles relevant to course content, reduces the class time required for implementation, and separates content questions from a pre–post attitude and motivation questionnaire. Using articles as homework also allows for instructors to utilize as many articles as they wish, but for this project moving forward, in future implementations, we will require a minimum of three articles over the course of a semester. We are currently piloting an implementation protocol using annotated primary scientific literature as a homework assignment and are excited to see how instructors and students use annotated primary scientific literature moving forward.

Advice to others

In the ongoing iterative development of an implementation protocol for annotated primary scientific literature, the most fruitful exercise has been reflection. This is great practice for any educator or educational researcher during the curriculum or pedagogical tool development process. Reflection on early classroom implementations helped us identify the opportunities for improvement in our subsequent protocol iterations and allowed us to make modifications based upon quantitative, qualitative, and observational data. One example of changes coming from reflection was noticing that during an implementation, students were opening the assessment without reading the article and using the “find” feature within the article to find answers to assessment questions. This led to preventing entry into the assessment until the time for reading had elapsed. Our subsequent classroom observations showed us that this forced students to interact with the article and be more thoughtful about their answers to the assessment, i.e., answers were not cut-and-pasted from the article text. We advise others to continue this practice of thoughtful reflection when using annotated primary scientific literature as a pedagogical tool. We also welcome any feedback or alternative uses of annotated primary scientific literature.

Future steps

The latest annotated primary scientific literature implementation protocol iteration is being pilot tested during fall 2018. Focusing more on robust evaluation now that implementation obstacles have been overcome will allow us to determine the effectiveness of annotated primary scientific literature as a pedagogical tool in undergraduate biology classrooms. Future studies are being designed to examine students’ scientific literacy before and after completing the annotated article activities using a previously validated scientific literacy instrument (Test of Scientific Literacy Skills [TOSLS]) [ 2 ]. Additionally, we aim to measure students’ subjective task values with regards to reading primary scientific research literature [ 25 – 28 ], as well as their primary scientific literature reading self-efficacy [ 29 – 32 ].

We hope to spread the word about annotated primary scientific literature and investigate its potential impacts on student learning and motivation as we further refine our implementation protocol and propagate beyond our department and institution.

Acknowledgments

We thank Beth Ruedi and Shelby Lake at AAAS, and Rebecca Vieyra for help editing this manuscript, our FIU colleagues Richard Brinn, Ligia Collado-Vides, Sat Gavassa, John Geiger, Camila Granados-Cifuentes, Zahra Hazari, Suzanne Koptur, and Sparkle Malone for providing us with class time, and all the participating students at FIU.

Abbreviations

Funding statement.

This research was supported through National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education 1525596 (MM) and Florida International University College of Arts, Sciences & Education Postdoctoral Fellowship (MM and MK). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Provenance: Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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Annotated primary scientific literature: A pedagogical tool for undergraduate courses

Affiliations Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, United States of America, STEM Transformation Institute, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, United States of America

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* E-mail: [email protected]

  • Matthew Kararo, 
  • Melissa McCartney

PLOS

Published: January 9, 2019

  • https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000103
  • Reader Comments

Fig 1

Annotated primary scientific literature is a teaching and learning resource that provides scaffolding for undergraduate students acculturating to the authentic scientific practice of obtaining and evaluating information through the medium of primary scientific literature. Utilizing annotated primary scientific literature as an integrated pedagogical tool could enable more widespread use of primary scientific literature in undergraduate science classrooms with minimal disruption to existing syllabi. Research is ongoing to determine an optimal implementation protocol, with these preliminary iterations presented here serving as a first look at how students respond to annotated primary scientific literature. The undergraduate biology student participants in our study did not, in general, have an abundance of experience reading primary scientific literature; however, they found the annotations useful, especially for vocabulary and graph interpretation. We present here an implementation protocol for using annotated primary literature in the classroom that minimizes the use of valuable classroom time and requires no additional pedagogical training for instructors.

Citation: Kararo M, McCartney M (2019) Annotated primary scientific literature: A pedagogical tool for undergraduate courses. PLoS Biol 17(1): e3000103. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000103

Copyright: © 2019 Kararo, McCartney. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funding: This research was supported through National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education 1525596 (MM) and Florida International University College of Arts, Sciences & Education Postdoctoral Fellowship (MM and MK). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Abbreviations: CREATE, consider, read, elucidate the hypotheses, Analyze and interpret the data, and think of the next experiment; FIU, Florida International University; SitC, Science in the Classroom; STEM, science, technology, engineering, and math; TOSLS, Test of Scientific Literacy Skills

Provenance: Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

A major output of public research universities is primary scientific literature, in addition to educating students and conferring degrees. It is imperative for researchers and universities to increase the transparency and outreach of the primary research literature they produce. However, most primary scientific literature remains unknown and/or inaccessible to the public, because it is published in journals targeting academics in the same field and is often placed behind journal paywalls [ 1 ].

Public research universities also have a responsibility to produce scientifically literate graduates [ 2 , 3 ]. Many students graduate without an understanding of scientific practices and an acculturation to interpreting scientific communication, especially primary scientific literature [ 4 , 5 ]. One way to potentially improve scientific literacy overall and develop specific skills, such as interpreting scientific communication, is to incorporate primary scientific literature into the undergraduate curricula and provide pedagogical tools that may help bridge the divide between everyday language and the language used by experts [ 6 – 11 ].

The study of primary scientific literature as a pedagogical tool in undergraduate biology courses has led to innovative approaches. The most well-known of these may be the Consider, Read, Elucidate the hypotheses, Analyze and interpret the data, and Think of the next Experiment (CREATE) method, in which faculty redesign their existing courses around primary scientific literature in order to provide an intensive and comprehensive analysis of primary scientific literature for undergraduates [ 6 , 12 – 14 ]. Although this type of a semester-long innovative elective course provided student benefits, adding an entire course to a degree sequence may prove difficult and by definition, does not impact students that choose not to include them in an already credit-crunched plan of study. This credit-crunch is especially prevalent at institutions such as the one in this study, Florida International University (FIU), where any additional credit hours are charged at out-of-state tuition rates. Therefore, it would benefit biology education, and biology as a field of study, to develop innovative ways to utilize primary scientific literature as a pedagogical tool, ideally with a minimal impact to existing plans of study and time investment from course instructors.

A growing body of research shows that less-intensive interventions using primary scientific literature can be valuable and useful in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, with the greatest amount of research happening at the undergraduate level. Programs include journal clubs, data and figure exploration, and tutorials on how to read primary scientific literature [ 15 – 17 ]. Assessment tools used to evaluate these interventions are equally as diverse, ranging from rubrics to validated surveys [ 18 , 19 ].

Annotated primary scientific literature

Annotated primary scientific literature is designed to help readers interpret complex science by overlaying additional information on a scientific research article. Preserving the original text and its context is what makes annotated primary scientific research literature unique from other genres that modify or rewrite the original text. This preservation is the key difference between annotated primary scientific literature and adapted primary literature, an approach that takes portions of primary scientific literature and rewrites the original content to turn them into pedagogical tools [ 20 ]. Science in the Classroom (SitC; www.scienceintheclassroom.org ) is a highly developed and sophisticated example of annotated primary scientific literature that we decided has potential for classroom pedagogical use.

SitC, a collection of freely available annotated papers, aims to make primary scientific research literature more accessible to students and educators. The repository of annotated primary scientific literature articles is accessible to educators and searchable by keyword, classified by topics, and grouped in collections. The process of reading and deconstructing scientific literature in undergraduate courses has been shown to result in students potentially gaining an understanding of scientific practices, such as how scientists design their experiments and present their results, essentially allowing students to experience the logic behind drawing conclusions from a set of data [ 6 , 7 , 12 – 14 ].

Annotated primary scientific literature uses the original text of research articles along with a “Learning Lens” overlay, designed to provide students tools to use for interpretation. The “Learning Lens” is used to selectively highlight different parts of the text and is composed of seven headings: Glossary, Previous work, Author's experiments, Conclusions, News and policy links, Connect to learning standards, and References and notes, which are color-coded to match the corresponding text of the research article. For example, an annotated glossary term, when clicked on, will produce a pop-up box containing the definition of the word ( Fig 1 ). Annotations contained within the “Learning Lens” have been designed to be at the reading comprehension level of a first-year undergraduate student, and ongoing evaluation efforts have provided evidence that this goal is being met [ 21 ].

thumbnail

  • PPT PowerPoint slide
  • PNG larger image
  • TIFF original image

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000103.g001

Annotated primary literature as a pedagogical tool

Annotations provide an educational scaffold that could help students become more comfortable with reading scientific papers. We propose annotated primary scientific literature as an example of a resource that can be incorporated into existing courses and provide scaffolding that may help undergraduate students develop skills necessary to read primary scientific literature while requiring a minimal time investment from instructors. Using annotated primary scientific literature as a pedagogical tool not only could potentially help universities develop scientifically literate graduates, but it may also broaden the impact of primary scientific research literature produced by faculty.

The previously mentioned pedagogical tools and curriculum transformations can require a substantial investment of time and effort from the university, faculty, and staff. Therefore, additional tools and opportunities should be considered in order to achieve a wider variety of complementary opportunities for teaching with authentic scientific practices and engaging students in reading primary scientific literature [ 22 ]. We hypothesize that the incorporation of annotated primary scientific literature in the classroom represents one of these opportunities.

In this pilot study, we had a goal of developing an implementation protocol that could incorporate annotated primary scientific literature into undergraduate courses with a minimal time investment for instructors and minimal disruption and alteration to existing courses and plans of study.

Implementation of annotated primary scientific literature

All data were collected in accordance with an approved FIU Institutional Review Board protocol #17–0398 and #17–0105. Our initial attempts to develop an implementation protocol for using annotated primary scientific literature as a pedagogical tool had the educational goal of introducing students to the “Learning Lens” annotations and observing how instructors and students used the tool. Initial attempts to incorporate annotated primary scientific literature focused on undergraduate biology courses at FIU, including General Biology II, Ecology, and Plant Life History. The implementation sessions were run iteratively during the same semester, ensuring that students did not overlap, and each class had only one implementation session. We describe two variations of our implementations here.

Students involved in the study self-reported their major, with 76% being biology majors. We did not collect any data on students’ prior knowledge of biology, but the majority of students in these classes are first- or second-year students.

We used the same annotated piece of primary scientific literature for all in-class activities described in this study: “Caffeine in floral nectar enhances a pollinator's memory of reward” ( https://tinyurl.com/k7m329g ). We chose an article that incorporated many different aspects of biology, including evolution, ecosystem interactions, basic botany, learning and memory, and animal behavior in a single study, making this paper applicable in a wide variety of undergraduate courses.

The objectives were to introduce undergraduate students to annotated primary scientific literature and collect baseline data on how students interacted with the annotations themselves. The first implementation involved a one-time intervention, connected to the student’s coursework, conducted by the researchers and began with an approximately 5-minute orientation to annotated primary scientific literature. This orientation included how to use the “Learning Lens” and a brief overview of the importance of primary scientific literature. Students were then given 20 minutes to read the selected piece of annotated primary scientific literature. At the 20-minute time point, a Qualtrics (online survey software; Provo, Utah and Seattle, Washington) link was provided, and if they were done reading, students could begin answering the feedback questionnaire. Students were given an additional 20 minutes to complete the questionnaire. Collecting and analyzing this first round of pilot data allowed for reflection on opportunities for iterative improvement.

In addition to the questionnaire data, feedback was collected through in-class activity observations conducted by the researchers. We kept detailed field notes indicating when students appeared on task, i.e., independently interacting with annotated primary scientific literature. We also noted when alternative tasks were observed, i.e., students checking email or social media, and when task completion appeared to have occurred. During the implementation, our in-class observations estimated an average time on task, i.e., interacting with annotated primary scientific literature, to be 10 minutes, because there was a noticeable increase in classroom noise after this time point. We confirmed this by using Adobe Analytics (Adobe, San Jose, California), which measures the time spent on a website by each user. We measured an average time spent on annotated primary scientific literature of 13 minutes. Due to limitations of Adobe Analytics, we are unable to collect individual data points and were limited to an aggregate average for the entire class. Note that the difference between the observed time spent on the activity and the digital measure can be explained by Adobe Analytics averaging all participants’ time spent on the article page.

The main student feedback was collected through a questionnaire containing both quantitative (content questions) and qualitative items (i.e., “what did you like about this activity?”). One of the key ideas we garnered from the qualitative data was that a one-time intervention was perceived by students as somewhat discordant when a connection between the article they read and the content they were covering at the time in their course was not made explicit by their course instructor ( Table 1 ).

thumbnail

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000103.t001

When asked if the topic of the paper related to their course, students in this iteration gave feedback such as this activity was “only slightly relevant to the course,” and “no, we[‘re] studying plants” despite the article being explicitly about caffeine production by plants in order to attract pollinators. Additionally, we were uncertain that we had connected with the students as researchers in the same way as the instructor with whom the students had built a relationship.

Although some students may have not perceived a connection between the article content and their course content, in general, students found the annotations useful, especially regarding graphs and vocabulary interpretation. Examples of student responses can be seen in Table 2 .

thumbnail

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000103.t002

For our second iteration, we decided to address the issues of students feeling discordant by having the course instructors introduce the article and annotated primary scientific literature activity themselves. Additionally, we asked instructors to explicitly connect the annotated paper to current course content. With both of these procedures in place, the average time students engaged with the annotated article, as measured by Adobe Analytics, increased to 19 minutes ( Fig 2 ).

thumbnail

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000103.g002

This new implementation, in which the instructor introduced the piece of annotated primary scientific literature and annotated primary scientific literature activity, not only appeared to increase the time that students engaged with the material, but it also removed the manpower requirement for the researchers to be present in every classroom in order to describe and implement the activity. This could allow for a more widespread implementation of annotated primary scientific literature as a pedagogical tool. It was also apparent that students introduced to the activity by their course instructor were more readily able to recognize the connections between reading primary scientific research literature and their course content, which can be seen in student responses in Table 3 .

thumbnail

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000103.t003

When asked if the topic of the paper related to their course, students in this iteration stated “This article related to 3 different courses I am taking this semester,” “yes it most certainly did,” “yes! We’re learning about pollination,” and that “…scientific papers on new experiments …are important.”

During the initial iterations of the implementation protocol, students read the annotated articles and completed an assessment during class time. However, a growing concern was feasibility of an in-class assignment due to the time requirement and allowing for instructor flexibility in scheduling. While observing a senior lecturer at FIU, who was not involved in this current study, and his existing implementation method of students reading primary scientific literature as homework and answering iClicker questions at the beginning of the following class, the researchers noticed an increased enthusiasm among the students during the class discussion. Supporting this observation, the history of research on the use of clickers in the classroom shows an increase in feelings of class involvement [ 23 ] and learning gains in students [ 24 ]. Because of the observations and support from instructors, the decision was made to adopt the homework protocol moving forward with future implementations. The homework protocol allows for more instructor freedom in selecting articles relevant to course content, reduces the class time required for implementation, and separates content questions from a pre–post attitude and motivation questionnaire. Using articles as homework also allows for instructors to utilize as many articles as they wish, but for this project moving forward, in future implementations, we will require a minimum of three articles over the course of a semester. We are currently piloting an implementation protocol using annotated primary scientific literature as a homework assignment and are excited to see how instructors and students use annotated primary scientific literature moving forward.

Advice to others

In the ongoing iterative development of an implementation protocol for annotated primary scientific literature, the most fruitful exercise has been reflection. This is great practice for any educator or educational researcher during the curriculum or pedagogical tool development process. Reflection on early classroom implementations helped us identify the opportunities for improvement in our subsequent protocol iterations and allowed us to make modifications based upon quantitative, qualitative, and observational data. One example of changes coming from reflection was noticing that during an implementation, students were opening the assessment without reading the article and using the “find” feature within the article to find answers to assessment questions. This led to preventing entry into the assessment until the time for reading had elapsed. Our subsequent classroom observations showed us that this forced students to interact with the article and be more thoughtful about their answers to the assessment, i.e., answers were not cut-and-pasted from the article text. We advise others to continue this practice of thoughtful reflection when using annotated primary scientific literature as a pedagogical tool. We also welcome any feedback or alternative uses of annotated primary scientific literature.

Future steps

The latest annotated primary scientific literature implementation protocol iteration is being pilot tested during fall 2018. Focusing more on robust evaluation now that implementation obstacles have been overcome will allow us to determine the effectiveness of annotated primary scientific literature as a pedagogical tool in undergraduate biology classrooms. Future studies are being designed to examine students’ scientific literacy before and after completing the annotated article activities using a previously validated scientific literacy instrument (Test of Scientific Literacy Skills [TOSLS]) [ 2 ]. Additionally, we aim to measure students’ subjective task values with regards to reading primary scientific research literature [ 25 – 28 ], as well as their primary scientific literature reading self-efficacy [ 29 – 32 ].

We hope to spread the word about annotated primary scientific literature and investigate its potential impacts on student learning and motivation as we further refine our implementation protocol and propagate beyond our department and institution.

Acknowledgments

We thank Beth Ruedi and Shelby Lake at AAAS, and Rebecca Vieyra for help editing this manuscript, our FIU colleagues Richard Brinn, Ligia Collado-Vides, Sat Gavassa, John Geiger, Camila Granados-Cifuentes, Zahra Hazari, Suzanne Koptur, and Sparkle Malone for providing us with class time, and all the participating students at FIU.

  • View Article
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  • 22. National Academy of Sciences. Discipline-based education research: Understanding and improving learning in undergraduate science and engineering. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2012.
  • 25. Eccles J, Adler TF, Futterman R, Goff SB, Kaczala CM, Meece JL, et al. Expectancies, values, and academic behaviors. In: Spence JT, editor. Achievement and achievement motives: Psychological and sociological approaches. San Francisco, CA: W.H. Freeman; 1983. pp. 75–146.
  • 29. Bandura A. Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall; 1977.
  • 30. Bandura A. Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall; 1986.
  • 32. Bandura A. Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman; 1997.

Annotated Bibliography Guide

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Sample Annotated Papers

  • Dosage compensation via transposable element mediated rewiring of a regulatory network
  • BRCA1 tumor suppression depends on BRCT phosphoprotein binding, but not its E3 ligase activity
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Components of Scientific Research Articles

Introduction.

Steps to Annotating A Scientific Paper

  • Locate each of the components (Abstract, Introduction, etc.)
  • Identify unfamiliar words in these sections that are important to understanding the research.
  • Define the unfamiliar words. Use Google or Credo Reference dictionaries.  Try NHGRI Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms  or Scitable Glossary from Nature .  
  • Annotate each section by summarizing the main idea or paraphrasing important sentences.  Write to an audience of first-year college students.

Science in the Classroom

Science in the Classroom (SitC) features annotated  research articles published in the  Science  family of journals. SitC uses 7 categories of annotations, each called a "LEARNING LENS" - - Glossary, Previous work [Introduction], Author's experiments [Methods], Results and Conclusions, News and policy links, Learning standards, and References and notes.   Click on each LEARNING LENS to turn annotations on and off.  Figures in the papers also have tabs with more detailed explanations to help the reader.

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Designing Research in Education: Concepts and Methodologies

Student resources, annotated research proposals.

Downloadable annotated research proposals written by post-graduate students.

Comments down the side will help readers critically engage with the texts and see how the markers (or reviewers) arrived at their judgments, showing readers what criteria is used to call a proposal ‘good’ or ‘weak’. In order to anonymise the work, the students are referred to as either ‘the writer’, ‘author’ or ‘researcher’.

For masters or doctoral work, proposals should often be regarded as being organic and provisional; they do not have to be set in stone and many (particularly with more inductive designs) will have flexible designs (see Proposal 3) and will undergo considerable change. However, if students want to make a professional career as an academic they will often need to develop the skills to be able to write ‘excellent’ proposals in order to secure research funding.

Research Proposal 1

Written as a course assignment and awarded a grade A.

Around 2,500 words long, excluding references.

Research Proposal 2

Written as a course assignment and given a C.

Research Proposal 3

An example of a successful application for a three-year funded project to the ESRC (a major funding body in the UK).

ESRC proposals are restricted to four sides of A4.

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Why Should the FDA Focus on Pragmatic Clinical Research?

  • 1 US Food and Drug Administration, White Oak Campus, Silver Spring, Maryland
  • Editor's Note Integrating Clinical Trials and Practice Gregory Curfman, MD JAMA
  • Special Communication The Integration of Clinical Trials With the Practice of Medicine Derek C. Angus, MD, MPH; Alison J. Huang, MD, MAS; Roger J. Lewis, MD, PhD; Amy P. Abernethy, MD, PhD; Robert M. Califf, MD; Martin Landray, PhD; Nancy Kass, ScD; Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, PhD, MD, MAS; JAMA Summit on Clinical Trials Participants; Ali B Abbasi; Kaleab Z Abebe; Amy P Abernethy; Stacey J. Adam; Derek C Angus; Jamy Ard; Rachel A Bender Ignacio ; Scott M Berry; Deepak L. Bhatt; Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo; Robert O. Bonow; Marc Bonten; Sharon A. Brangman; John Brownstein; Melinda J. B. Buntin; Atul J Butte; Robert M. Califf; Marion K Campbell; Anne R. Cappola; Anne C Chiang; Deborah Cook; Steven R Cummings; Gregory Curfman; Laura J Esserman; Lee A Fleisher; Joseph B Franklin; Ralph Gonzalez; Cynthia I Grossman; Tufia C. Haddad; Roy S. Herbst; Adrian F. Hernandez; Diane P Holder; Leora Horn; Grant D. Huang; Alison Huang; Nancy Kass; Rohan Khera; Walter J. Koroshetz; Harlan M. Krumholz; Martin Landray; Roger J. Lewis; Tracy A Lieu; Preeti N. Malani; Christa Lese Martin; Mark McClellan; Mary M. McDermott; Stephanie R. Morain; Susan A Murphy; Stuart G Nicholls; Stephen J Nicholls; Peter J. O'Dwyer; Bhakti K Patel; Eric Peterson; Sheila A. Prindiville; Joseph S. Ross; Kathryn M Rowan; Gordon Rubenfeld; Christopher W. Seymour; Rod S Taylor; Joanne Waldstreicher; Tracy Y. Wang JAMA

Traditional randomized clinical trials (RCTs) have long been a key tool underpinning drug and device development. The use of individual participant randomization and active or placebo controls in RCTs, combined with comprehensive collection of highly structured data, supports assay sensitivity. At the same time, focused enrollment criteria and careful attention to the collection of adverse events for specified follow-up periods promote detection of toxicities and risks. These trials support a system, regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other global regulators, that allows the majority of candidate therapies whose risks outweigh benefits for intended use to be screened out while enabling safe and effective medical products to advance to market. However, the next stage—after product development and marketing authorization are completed and a therapy is integrated into clinical practice—needs serious attention.

  • Editor's Note Integrating Clinical Trials and Practice JAMA

Read More About

Abbasi AB , Curtis LH , Califf RM. Why Should the FDA Focus on Pragmatic Clinical Research? JAMA. Published online June 03, 2024. doi:10.1001/jama.2024.6227

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annotated research journal

Journal of Materials Chemistry A

Research progress on two-dimensional indium selenide crystals and optoelectronic devices.

Two-dimensional (2D) materials, with unique electronic properties, superior optoelectronic properties, and dangling-bond-free surfaces, have attracted significant attention and experienced rapid development both in fundamental science and for practical applications. Amid the plethora of 2D materials, indium selenide (InSe) has emerged as a promising candidate for future high-mobility optoelectronic devices. Nobel Prize laureate Andre Geim even describes it as "the 'golden middle' between silicon and graphene". Over the past decade, remarkable findings and progress have been made in the fabrication of 2D InSe crystals and their application in devices, motivating us to delve deeply into these forefront developments. In this review, the physical properties such as the crystalline structure, band structure and photoluminescence characteristics are discussed at first. Then, the advancement in terms of synthesis techniques, characteristics and synthesis schemes in the fabrication of 2D InSe are summarized. Subsequently, the mechanisms of optimized strategy and recent progress in field effect transistors (FETs) as well as photodetectors based on this material are summarized, also highlighting the promising applications of 2D InSe in sensors. Finally, an outlook, challenges, and potential future research directions in the fabrication of 2D InSe and its devices are presented.

  • This article is part of the themed collection: Journal of Materials Chemistry A Recent Review Articles

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annotated research journal

D. Zheng, P. Chen, Y. Liu, X. Li, K. Liu, Z. Yin, R. Frisenda, Q. Zhao and T. Wang, J. Mater. Chem. A , 2024, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/D4TA01584C

To request permission to reproduce material from this article, please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page .

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If you are the author of this article, you do not need to request permission to reproduce figures and diagrams provided correct acknowledgement is given. If you want to reproduce the whole article in a third-party publication (excluding your thesis/dissertation for which permission is not required) please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page .

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Cancer patients often do better with less intensive treatment, new research finds

FILE - In this May 25, 2017 file photo, chemotherapy drugs are administered to a patient at a hospital in Chapel Hill, N.C. Scaling back treatment in some cancers — ovarian, esophageal and Hodgkin lymphoma — can make life easier for patients without compromising outcomes, doctors reported at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in early June 2024. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

FILE - In this May 25, 2017 file photo, chemotherapy drugs are administered to a patient at a hospital in Chapel Hill, N.C. Scaling back treatment in some cancers — ovarian, esophageal and Hodgkin lymphoma — can make life easier for patients without compromising outcomes, doctors reported at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in early June 2024. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

  • Copy Link copied

Scaling back treatment for three kinds of cancer can make life easier for patients without compromising outcomes, doctors reported at the world’s largest cancer conference.

It’s part of a long-term trend toward studying whether doing less — less surgery , less chemotherapy or less radiation — can help patients live longer and feel better. The latest studies involved ovarian and esophageal cancer and Hodgkin lymphoma.

Thirty years ago, cancer research was about doing more, not less. In one sobering example, women with advanced breast cancer were pushed to the brink of death with massive doses of chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants. The approach didn’t work any better than chemotherapy and patients suffered.

Now, in a quest to optimize cancer care, researchers are asking: “Do we need all that treatment that we have used in the past?”

It’s a question, “that should be asked over and over again,” said Dr. Tatjana Kolevska, medical director for the Kaiser Permanente National Cancer Excellence Program, who was not involved in the new research.

Often, doing less works because of improved drugs.

Cheng "Charlie" Saephan holds a check above his head after speaking during a news conference where it was revealed that he was one of the winners of the $1.3 billion Powerball jackpot at the Oregon Lottery headquarters on Monday, April 29, 2024, in Salem, Ore. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)

“The good news is that cancer treatment is not only becoming more effective, it’s becoming easier to tolerate and associated with less short-term and long-term complications,” said Dr. William G. Nelson of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who was also not involved in the new research.

Studies demonstrating the trend were discussed over the weekend at an American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago. Here are the highlights:

OVARIAN CANCER

French researchers found that it’s safe to avoid removing lymph nodes that appear healthy during surgery for advanced ovarian cancer. The study compared the results for 379 patients — half had their lymph nodes removed and half did not. After nine years, there was no difference in how long the patients lived and those with less-extreme surgery had fewer complications, such as the need for blood transfusions. The research was funded by the National Institute of Cancer in France.

ESOPHAGEAL CANCER

This German study looked at 438 people with a type of cancer of the esophagus that can be treated with surgery. Half received a common treatment plan that included chemotherapy and surgery on the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach. Half got another approach that includes radiation too. Both techniques are considered standard. Which one patients get can depend on where they get treatment.

After three years, 57% of those who got chemo and surgery were alive, compared to 51% of those who got chemo, surgery and radiation. The German Research Foundation funded the study.

HODGKIN LYMPHOMA

A comparison of two chemotherapy regimens for advanced Hodgkin lymphoma found the less intensive treatment was more effective for the blood cancer and caused fewer side effects.

After four years, the less harsh chemo kept the disease in check in 94% of people, compared to 91% of those who had the more intense treatment. The trial included 1,482 people in nine countries — Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Australia and New Zealand — and was funded by Takeda Oncology, the maker of one of the drugs used in the gentler chemo that was studied.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

annotated research journal

IMAGES

  1. Annotated Bibliography Journal Example Apa

    annotated research journal

  2. Annotated Bibliography Journal Example Apa

    annotated research journal

  3. Annotated Bibliography Journal Example Apa

    annotated research journal

  4. MLA Annotated Bibliography Examples and Writing Guide

    annotated research journal

  5. How To Annotate An Article: Learn Annotation Strategies

    annotated research journal

  6. Annotated scientific research journal article used in initial

    annotated research journal

VIDEO

  1. Academic Research and Annotated Biliographies

  2. Module 4, Sources and Research

  3. Week Seven Focus Video

  4. Java Annotation Processing

  5. Master the Skill of Annotating Academic Articles

  6. Research Project: Drug Policy And How They Target Marginalized Communities

COMMENTS

  1. The Annotated Bibliography

    Sample Annotated Bibliography Entries. The following example uses APA style (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition, 2019) for the journal citation:Waite, L., Goldschneider, F., & Witsberger, C. (1986). Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional family orientations among young adults.

  2. How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

    An annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources (like a reference list). It differs from a straightforward bibliography in that each reference is followed by a paragraph length annotation, usually 100-200 words in length. ... Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting, 30(4), 26-28. ... This involves doing research much like for any other ...

  3. What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

    Published on March 9, 2021 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on August 23, 2022. An annotated bibliography is a list of source references that includes a short descriptive text (an annotation) for each source. It may be assigned as part of the research process for a paper, or as an individual assignment to gather and read relevant sources on a topic.

  4. Sample Annotations

    SAMPLE DESCRIPTIVE ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY ENTRY FOR A JOURNAL ARTICLE. The following example uses the APA format 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 (4), 541-554.

  5. Annotated Bibliography

    An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents that follows the appropriate style format for the discipline (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc). Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 word) descriptive and evaluative paragraph -- the annotation.

  6. Writing Annotations

    The annotation should explain the value of the source for the overall research topic by providing a summary combined with an analysis of the source. Example: Aluedse, O. (2006). Bullying in schools: A form of child abuse in schools. Educational Research Quarterly, 30 (1), 37.

  7. MLA Style Annotated Bibliography

    MLA Style Annotated Bibliography | Format & Examples. Published on July 13, 2021 by Jack Caulfield.Revised on March 5, 2024. An annotated bibliography is a special assignment that lists sources in a way similar to the MLA Works Cited list, but providing an annotation for each source giving extra information.. You might be assigned an annotated bibliography as part of the research process for a ...

  8. 14.1 Compiling Sources for an Annotated Bibliography

    13.4 Annotated Student Sample: Research Log; 13.5 Research Process: Making Notes, Synthesizing Information, and Keeping a Research Log; 13.6 Spotlight on … Ethical Research; ... Often they include academic journal articles, periodicals, websites, and multimedia texts such as videos. A bibliography alone, at the end of a research work, also ...

  9. Annotated Bibliography

    What is an annotated bibliography? An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents that follows the appropriate style format for the discipline (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc). Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 word) descriptive and evaluative paragraph -- the annotation.

  10. How to Write a Research Paper: Annotated Bibliography

    Annotated bibliographies can be part of a larger research project, or can be a stand-alone report in itself. Annotation versus abstracts. An abstract is a paragraph at the beginning of the paper that discusses the main point of the original work. They typically do not include evaluation comments. Annotations can either be descriptive or evaluative.

  11. LibGuides: Research Strategies: Annotated Bibliography

    An annotated bibliography is a list of sources (books, articles, websites, etc.) with short paragraph about each source. An annotated bibliography is sometimes a useful step before drafting a research paper, or it can stand alone as an overview of the research available on a topic. Each source in the annotated bibliography has a citation - the ...

  12. Annotated Bibliography

    An annotated bibliography is a summary and evaluation of a resource. According to Merriam-Webster, a bibliography is "the works or a list of the works referred to in a text or consulted by the author in its production.". Your references (APA) or Works Cited (MLA) can be considered a bibliography. A bibliography follows a documentation style ...

  13. Annotating a Journal Article

    0:00: Owl: Welcome to Annotating a Journal Article, an instructional video on reading comprehension brought to you by the Excelsior University Online Writing Lab. 0:12: It's common for people to read articles in newspapers, magazines, and online. 0:18: But journal articles are a different kind of article, and they often can be very challenging to read.

  14. Annotated Bibliographies

    A bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, Web sites, periodicals, etc.) one has used for researching a topic. Bibliographies are sometimes called "References" or "Works Cited" depending on the style format you are using. A bibliography usually just includes the bibliographic information (i.e., the author, title, publisher, etc.).

  15. Annotated Bibliography Samples

    Below you will find sample annotations from annotated bibliographies, each with a different research project. Remember that the annotations you include in your own bibliography should reflect your research project and/or the guidelines of your assignment. As mentioned elsewhere in this resource, depending on the purpose of your bibliography ...

  16. Annotated primary scientific literature: A pedagogical tool for

    Annotated primary scientific literature uses the original text of research articles along with a "Learning Lens" overlay, designed to provide students tools to use for interpretation. The "Learning Lens" is used to selectively highlight different parts of the text and is composed of seven headings: Glossary, Previous work, Author's ...

  17. Annotated primary scientific literature: A pedagogical tool for ...

    Annotated primary scientific literature is designed to help readers interpret complex science by overlaying additional information on a scientific research article. Preserving the original text and its context is what makes annotated primary scientific research literature unique from other genres that modify or rewrite the original text.

  18. Annotated Bibliography Guide

    An annotated bibliography is a descriptive and evaluative list of citations for books, articles, or other documents. ... ULibraries Research Guides * Marriott Library Research Guides; Annotated Bibliography Guide; Sample Annotated Bibliographies; Search this Guide Search. Annotated Bibliography Guide. An annotated bibliography is a descriptive ...

  19. Annotating a Scientific Paper

    Science in the Classroom (SitC) features annotated research articles published in the Science family of journals.SitC uses 7 categories of annotations, each called a "LEARNING LENS" - - Glossary, Previous work [Introduction], Author's experiments [Methods], Results and Conclusions, News and policy links, Learning standards, and References and notes.

  20. Annotating research

    Hypothesis is an open platform for annotation and discussion of web resources. Cambridge is partnering with Hypothesis to enable authors, editors and readers to annotate and discuss the research we publish on our platform, Cambridge Core. You can use the Hypothesis annotation tool on Cambridge Core for the following content: Please find how to ...

  21. Characteristics of Scholarly Articles and Journals

    This research guide provides characteristics of scholarly, popular, trade and peer-reviewed articles. Created by Reference Librarian Cal Melick, Mabee Library-Washburn University. Peer-Review/Refereed Journal Clues

  22. Annotated research proposals

    Downloadable annotated research proposals written by post-graduate students.Comments down the side will help readers critically engage with the texts and see how the markers (or reviewers) arrived at their judgments, showing readers what criteria is used to call a proposal 'good' or 'weak'. In order to anonymise the work, the students are referred to as either 'the writer ...

  23. Welcome to the Purdue Online Writing Lab

    Mission. The Purdue On-Campus Writing Lab and Purdue Online Writing Lab assist clients in their development as writers—no matter what their skill level—with on-campus consultations, online participation, and community engagement. The Purdue Writing Lab serves the Purdue, West Lafayette, campus and coordinates with local literacy initiatives.

  24. Why Should the FDA Focus on Pragmatic Clinical Research?

    This Viewpoint from the FDA discusses how pragmatic clinical research—assessment that uses real-world data, often in combination with research data, after initial marketing approval—can help in evaluation of new technologies, benefit research sites in underresourced settings, and better inform...

  25. Osimertinib after Chemoradiotherapy in Stage III

    Osimertinib is a recommended treatment for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation and as adjuvant treatment for resected EGFR ...

  26. Research progress on two-dimensional indium selenide crystals and

    Two-dimensional (2D) materials, with unique electronic properties, superior optoelectronic properties, and dangling-bond-free surfaces, have attracted significant attention and experienced rapid development both in fundamental science and for practical applications. Amid the plethora of 2D materials, indium Journal of Materials Chemistry A Recent Review Articles

  27. The 80th Anniversary of D-Day

    NGA Historic Research Center. ... Army Map Service, is seeking maps, city plans, port plans, place name lexicons, gazetteers, guide books, geographic journals, and geologic bulletins covering all foreign areas." ... The U.S. 12th Army Group annotated this D-Day map to provide situational awareness of their end-of-day position and known German ...

  28. Durability of XBB.1.5 Vaccines against Omicron Subvariants

    Specifically, effectiveness most likely peaked at approximately 4 weeks, but the data were not dense enough to precisely locate the peak. Overall, the XBB.1.5 vaccines were effective against ...

  29. Cancer patients often do better with less intensive treatment, new

    The research was funded by the National Institute of Cancer in France. ESOPHAGEAL CANCER. This German study looked at 438 people with a type of cancer of the esophagus that can be treated with surgery. Half received a common treatment plan that included chemotherapy and surgery on the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the throat to the ...

  30. Cow's Milk Containing Avian Influenza A (H5N1) Virus

    To further assess the risk that HPAI A(H5N1)-positive milk poses to animals and humans, we orally inoculated BALB/cJ mice with 50 μl (3×10 6 pfu) of sample NM#93. The animals showed signs of ...