Annotated Bibliography Assignment

An annotated bibliography is a list of bibliographic entries for articles, books, or other academic sources that the student anticipates being relevant to the written report, accompanied by the student’s own notes for each source.

Before you write the annotated bibliography, you should already have determined your role in your group, become familiar with your case, and found at least 5 sources that are relevant to your case (see Getting Started and Researching Your Case).



The annotated bibliography should:

  • summarize at least 5 peer-reviewed articles from the relevant academic discipline.
    • Sources should not be from blogs, news articles, or other non-academic sources. You may may use non-academic sources in your work if you like, but they do not count towards the minimum of 5 academic articles.
  • contain one entry for each of the five sources.
  • list entries in alphabetical order, according to the last name of the first author
  • Follow the required format, see below

Remember, the purpose of this exercise is to help you develop your paper, and (ultimately) to help your group resolve the case. More complete notes now will ultimately make the paper writing process go more smoothly.

Format of Entries

Each of the five entries should be at least half of a page in length, single-spaced (there is no need to double-space this assignment). It consists of a reference and the student’s own annotations.

1. Bibliographic reference

The reference contains author, date, title, etc. You may use any standard bibliographic format.

Prof. MacDougall’s favorite is the Chicago Manual of Style, Author-Date System. Scroll down to the section entitled “Journal Article” (or “Book,” if you are using a book). Use the format suggested there.

2. Annotations

Annotations are your notes on the source. Before annotating the bibliography, you will need to determine whether your article is an empirical or a normative article. You can tell whether an article is empirical or normative by determining whether the main claim of the article is empirical (i.e., if it is descriptive) or normative (i.e. if it is prescriptive).

The notes should EXPLICITLY LABEL the following three components. The format of these will depend on whether you determine the article to be normative or empirical.

  1. Thesis or Conclusions: The notes should state the author’s thesis (if it is a normative/philosophy article) or the main conclusions of the study (if it is an empirical/scientific article). This demonstrates that you have understood the main point of the article. Whether your article has a thesis or conclusion(s), these should be stated in the way we discussed in class (thesis should be a truth claim, concise, and appropriately specific; conclusions should be general and stated in present tense)
  2. Arguments or Evidence/Results: The notes should include a brief summary of the author’s arguments presented in support of the thesis (if it is a normative article), or a summary of the evidence/results presented in support of the conclusions (if it is an empirical article). It should be clear, in every case, how the arguments or evidence support the main thesis/conclusion of the source. If the article is empirical, the statement of evidence should be specific and in the past tense (indicating what the researchers actually observed).
  3. Relevance to the main ethical problem in my case. The notes should indicate which part of the author’s argument or data you think will help you with the main ethical problem in your paper. You should say specifically how you think it may help with your particular case. Be detailed and specific in your explanation. What part of the author’s evidence or argument did you think was helpful? Does it reinforce your initial impressions about what should be done in this case, or has it made you rethink some things? Maybe you will argue against something in this source in your paper? The point of this section is not just to show that the article is relevant, but to begin thinking about how you will actually use this article in your paper.

Always use your own words. While there are times that you will have to use single terms in common with the original source (for example, there is no synonym for many anatomical and scientific terms), sentences should be entirely your own. If sentences or major parts of sentences are the same as the source or are copied, and you have not put the words in quotation marks, your work will be treated as plagiarism. If work is copied from artificial intelligence sources, it will also be treated as plagiarism. You will receive a zero on the assignment and will be reported to the academic integrity committee.