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CAL 105: CAL Colloquium

Information for CAL 105 students to aid in their research projects.

Annotated Bibliographies


An annotated bibliography is a list of citations of books, articles, and other documents used in your research. 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.

(Definition used with permission from How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography by Olin Library Reference, Research & Learning Services, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY, USA)


When annotating a citation, structure it in the following format. You're not separating out the different parts of the annotation, but use this as a guide:

Citation of document.
Summary of document - key arguments, data, etc.
Assessment of document - evaluate, compare to other documents.
Reflect on the document - how does this document fit your research? What does it offer? Does it change how you see the issue?


From University of Toronto New College Writing Centre:

McIvor, S. D. (1995). Aboriginal women's rights as "existing rights." Canadian Woman Studies/Les Cahiers de la Femme 2/3, 34-38.

This article seeks to define the extent of the civil and political rights returned to aboriginal women in the Constitution Act (1982), in its amendment in 1983, and in amendments to the Indian Act (1985). This legislation reverses prior laws that denied Indian status to aboriginal women who married non-aboriginal men. On the basis of the Supreme Court of Canada's interpretation of the Constitution Act in R. v. Sparrow (1991), McIvor argues that the Act recognizes fundamental human rights and existing aboriginal rights, granting to aboriginal women full participation in the aboriginal right to self-government.

Literature Reviews


Literature reviews are a critical summary of the relevant literature of a subject, a way of “[a]nalyzing the past to prepare for the future” (Webster & Watson).

Look for the literature reviews in the articles you read and observe how they're written:

  • Organization
    • Chronological?
    • By topic?
  • Integration of sources
    • One source at a time?
    • Multiple discussed per sentence/paragraph?


    After you've collected the research you'll examine, analyze each source for the major components, which may include:
    • Context, Issues
      • Why was this study done, what was it looking to determine?  
    • Demographic
      • Who/what was the focus of this study?   
    • Methodology    
      • How was the study conducted?
    • Problem(s)
      • Did anything not work or not go as planned?  
    • Conclusions  
      • Recommendations?
      • Data?
    • Other stuff that sticks out to you
    • Your own thoughts/conclusions/potential future research questions
    • Remember: if you note data or quotations or anything else taken from the article, include the page number in your notes so it'll be easy to cite it later
    Once you've analyzed each source individually, evaluate them as a group and look for:
    • Patterns in the research
    • Common thought about the topic
    • Current questions, gaps in the research
    Take your evaluation and synthesize your findings into a review, creating something new from what you've read:
    • What connections do you see?
    • Can you compare/contrast findings?
    • What do you take away from what you've read?


Froese, A. D., Gantz, B. S., & Henry, A. L. (1998). Teaching students to write literature reviews: A meta-analytic model. Teaching of Psychology 25, pp. 102-105.

Webster, J., & Watson, R. (2002). "Analyzing the past to prepare for the future: Writing a literature review." MIS Quarterly 26(2), xiii-xxiii.

One Way To Track What You Read

This is an image of the spreadsheet one of our librarians used to track dozens of articles for a research article literature review. Your needs may vary, but attached below is a template of this spreadsheet for you to use yourself, if it works for you.

Another way: