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Scholarship of Teaching & Learning: Annotated Bibliographies & Literature Reviews

Consult these resources while researching SoTL topics.

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations and summaries of the books, articles and other sources on a research topic. It helps a researcher to evaluate the information from each material, identify patterns and gaps from various sources, and formulate a topic for their own research or thesis for their own essay. 

Each source should include a reference and annotation. An annotation can be a descriptive summary or critical analysis of the work. See below for an example in the APA format (from SoTL Annotated Literature Database):  

Xu, X., & Makani, B. (2016). A course-embedded community-engaged learning initiative in finance. Journal of Financial Education, 42(3-4), 276-290.

This study presents a model of community-engaged learning (CEL) in an undergraduate finance class. The purpose of integrating CEL was to fill the gap between the traditional teaching method that focuses on fundamental concepts with practical applications of the knowledge. Results showed positive effects on students’ academic performance, motivation, confidence, attitudes, and a preference for hands-on learning. CEL requires strong partnerships and seamless coordination among students, faculty, and community partners. Facilitators must be aware of the significant time and effort involved in administering CEL projects. As CEL is less common in business education, further research is required.

Please refer to the section on "Citing Your Sources" for information on references. 

Annotated bibliography examples:

What is a literature review?

A literature review is an overview of the research literature available on a topic. Faculty may use library databases and search engines to find books, journal articles, government reports, grey literature, etc., on a topic. The written review should synthesize key findings, theories and issues identified from the literature and determine gaps and areas for further research. A literature review is different from an annotated bibliography, which summarizes information from each source.  

When a literature review is done prior to an original research project, it helps scholars identify how their own research can build on the current knowledge on a topic, fill a gap that has not been studied before, answer outstanding questions, and/or bring new perspectives on a topic.