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Annotated Bibliographies (IUSD)

D503/603 Annotated Bibliography Assignment


  • 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 are descriptive and critical; they expose the author's point of view, clarity and appropriateness of expression, and authority.
  • Creating an annotated bibliography calls for the application of several intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed research.


  1. Locate sources that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic. Briefly examine and review them.
  2. Critically appraise and analyze the sources. The INITIAL APPRAISAL considers:
    1. The AUTHOR: What are the author’s credentials, institutional affiliation, educational background, past writings or experience, area of expertise?
    2. DATE OF PUBLICATION:  Is the source current or out-of-date for your topic? Note that if you are comparing the development of your topic through time, you may purposefully choose sources that were published a long time ago.
    3. EDITION or REVISION:  Is this a first edition of this publication or not? Further editions indicate a source has been revised and updated to reflect changes in knowledge, include omissions, and harmonize with its intended reader's needs. Also, many printings or editions may indicate that the work has become a standard source in the area and is reliable.
    4. PUBLISHER: If the source is published by a university press, it is likely to be scholarly. Although the fact that the publisher is reputable does not necessarily guarantee quality, it does show that the publisher may have high regard for the source being published.
    5. THE JOURNAL: Is it a scholarly journal?
  3. Proceed to do a CONTENT ANALYSIS. Examine the body of the source, including:
    1. INTENDED AUDIENCE:  Is the publication aimed at a specialized or a general audience?
    2. OBJECTIVE REASONING: Is the information covered fact, opinion, or propaganda? Facts can usually be verified; opinions, though they may be based on factual information, evolve from the interpretation of facts.   Does the information appear to be valid and well-researched, or is it questionable and unsupported by evidence? Assumptions should be reasonable. Note errors or omissions. Are the ideas and arguments more or less in line with other works you have read on the same topic? Is the author's point of view objective and impartial?
    3. COVERAGE:  Does the work update other sources, substantiate other materials you have read, or add new information? You should explore enough sources to obtain a variety of viewpoints. Is the material primary or secondary in nature?
    4. WRITING STYLE:  Is the publication organized logically? Are the main points clearly presented? Do you find the text easy to read, or is it stilted or choppy? Is the author's argument repetitive?

For more guidance, please see: How to Critically Analyze Information Sources at:

  1. Choose those works that provide a variety of perspectives on your topic. For this course, the annotated bibliography must contain at least 8 references. The references you choose should help you address the ethical/professional dimensions of the topic. Remember you can include the Ozar and Sokol text and ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct.
  2. Cite the book or article using the appropriate style (JADA style in our case). Please see examples at the end of this document and consult the following link:
  3. Write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article. See the example in the next section, and follow carefully the examples provided on the Cornell website.
  4. Include one or more sentences that:
    1. evaluate the authority or background of the author,
    2. comment on the intended audience,
    3. compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or
    4. explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic.
  5. Include an INTRODUCTION paragraph at the beginning, and a CONCLUSION paragraph at the end. 
  6. In the Introduction, briefly explain why the chosen topic is important for oral health/oral care/dentistry, and why your group chose the topic.
  7. In the conclusion, summarize the ethical issues and principles relevant to the topic.

Sample Annotation


The following example (from the Cornell Guide) has been modified to use the JADA format for the journal citation.

Waite LJ, Goldschneider FK,  Witsberger C. Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional family orientations among young adults. American Sociological Review 1986; 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.

JADA Citation Style Examples


Lauterbach M, Martins IP, Castro-Caldas A, et al. Neurological outcomes in children with and without amalgam-related mercury exposure: seven years of longitudinal observations in a randomized trial. JADA 2008;139(2):138-145.


Cohen S, Burns RC. Pathways of the pulp. 8th ed. St. Louis: Mosby; 2002:196.


Byrne BE, Tibbetts LS. Conscious sedation and agents for the control of anxiety. In: Ciancio SG, ed. ADA Guide to Dental Therapeutics. 3rd ed. Chicago: American Dental Association; 2003:17-53.

Additional Resources