Create an annotated bibliography on a research topic of your choice. You will need to
read and review 5 articles, and include a synthesis paragraph.
(Links to an external site.)
For example, see the menu item “reference lists: articles in periodicals” for how to cite journal articles:
(Links to an external site.)
This paper should be double spaced, 12 point font. Each entry will take between 1/2 and a full page to complete.
Each entry will summarize in your own words the following:
1.) The thesis or research question of the paper (what are the authors trying to show?)
2.) Methods used, including major characteristics of the sample (how many people, what ages, how recruited),
which variables were measured, and how were they measured, and anything else noteworthy about the methods
3.) Results: what did they find? (you may include whether or not their hypotheses were supported).
4.) Conclusions: what are the implications of their findings? What does this mean, and how does it apply? You
may also include a statement about whether or not you agree with the authors’ conclusions.
After you have completed all 5 entries, include 1 paragraph where you take a step back, and synthesize what
you’re learned. To some extent, this will depend on the content of your summaries, but overall, you are looking to
see what the patterns in the research are. Do the studies contradict each other, or support each other? Are there
differences in methods that might account for differences in the findings? What do you find most interesting here?
What questions does the research not answer?
A word about choosing articles:
The articles you choose must be academic articles. You are safest with peer reviewed journal articles (you can
select for this in PsychInfo and in most Library database searches). You may use no more than 2 literature
reviews or meta-analyses, and the formatting for these entries will be slightly different (see below). Other than up
to 2 lit reviews/meta analysis, all of the articles must be primary source research articles. This means that
summaries of research articles, even if they are published in scientific magazines, will not do. You need original
peer-reviewed journal articles. Recall that you can limit your search to full text available articles, but most articles
that aren’t linked to the pdf of the full text are available through the library, either in their stacks, or through interlibrary loan (which is why I prefer the library database searches to searching google scholar on my own).
How to format a meta-analysis:
Meta analyses are articles that synthesize the research findings of a bunch of other articles. They still have a
main question they are investigating, and they have “methods,” (they decide which other studies can be included
in their analyses, etc.). They also have results, and usually draw some conclusions, but instead of working with
one data set, they are working with a collection of several data sets (in some cases, hundreds or thousands of
data sets). Also, meta-analyses may not be formatted like a traditional research article. To summarize these
studies, follow roughly the same format, but note in the first line that it is a meta-analysis. Include the researchers
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main question (or reason for doing the meta-analysis), how they decided what to include in their analyses, their
major findings, and the implications of those findings.
How to format a Literature Review:
Literature reviews likewise summarize and synthesize the findings of multiple other studies. In this case, however
rather than analyzing data from a bunch of other studies, the authors are reviewing the relevant studies in the
field on a particular topic, and putting those findings together to clarify the findings, and the state of the field. A
literature review can get you up to speed quickly on a large body of research, but again, you shouldn’t need more
than 1 or 2 for this assignment. The summary of a literature review is somewhat looser; there will not be a
traditional format, and certainly no methods or result sections. For these entries, focus, instead, on the main
questions the literature review addresses, and the conclusions the authors draw about these questions. Note
whether or not you agree with their analysis (and/or logic). Most literature reviews will deal with more than one
question, or will look at a series of sub-questions/sub-topics. In the summary of the literature review, also include
information on any major, overarching conclusions drawn by the authors, and what they say are research
questions that have yet to be adequately addressed. As with the meta-analysis, include, in the first line, a notation that the article is a literature review.
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