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NU416 - Quality and Safety in Professional Nursing Online: Annotated Bibliographies

How to conduct your annotated bibliography

Step 1: Choose topic

Step 2: Search databases for peer-reviewed articles

Step 3: READ the full-text of the articles

Step 4: Write you annotation

Step 5: Cite your source in APA format

See box on this page for an example. Contact your class librarian, Leigh 
Stanfield at, if you have questions about searching the databases or locating full-text of articles.

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

Annotated bibliographies are helpful tools when researching or writing a research paper. They allow you to organize your sources in ways that may otherwise be difficult.

With annotated bibliographies, you are able to easily find which source contains the information you need, and the citations are ready for your final paper. This alone makes annotated bibliographies useful.

Writing annotated bibliographies forces you to think about the material closely and summarize it into a short, concise paragraph. In doing so, you are able to better understand the text, which is invaluable making arguments and for source integration.

Purpose and Goals

In your annotated bibliography, you should:

  1. Establish Credibility: Let the reader know that your source and author are credible. Identify established reputable institutions when authors are employed or affiliated, or identify the reputation of the journal or method of publication. Look for peer-reviewed sources, which are journal selections that have been approved by a panel of professionals in the discipline.

  2. Summarize the work: Identify and state the purpose of the work (paraphrased is fine; you will want to note the page number). Use headings, chapter titles, etc., to reference your discussion of the organization and allow you to quickly find the information within the source.

  3. Demonstrate diversity and similarity by showing relationships between and among sources: Show how source details or content compare to another source in the bibliography by using rhetorical modes of thinking: comparison and contrast, definition, cause and effect, problem and solution, classification and description, or narration.

Establish relevancy by showing the relationship between the source and your research-in-progress: Use the strategy described in #3.


The Bibliographic Entry is the entire entry from one source. The entry is composed of the Documentation and Annotation. The entries should consist of two parts:

Documentation: The source itself, properly documented in APA.

Annotation: The paragraph of notes about the source. To be most valuable, annotations should establish credibility, summarize, and show relevancy. See full assignment criteria under the course hometab.

Sample Entry

Kardong-Edgren, S., Adamson, K., & Fitzgerald, C. (2010). A review of currently published evaluation instruments for human patient

     simulation. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 6(1), e25-35. doi:10.1016/j.ecns.2009.08.004



Kardong-Edgren, Adamson, and Fitzgerald, nurse faculty from Washington State University, provide a review of currently published

evaluation instruments for human patient simulation and learning. The authors summarize and evaluate 29 current simulation

evaluation tools. The tools are then divided into the categories: cognitive, psychomotor, affective, group evaluation, and

developmental. The authors conclude few nurse faculty are skilled in instrument development and over 1/2 of the studies did not

measure or report reliability and validity. Faculty are encouraged to reuse current instruments and participate in multi-site studies to

provide the valid data needed to move simulation science forward. This article is intended for Nurse Faculty and Advanced Practice

Nurses evaluating simulation as a learning method.

Annotated By: 

Celeste M. Alfes, DNP, RN

Formatting Reminders

  • The Annotated Bibliography will be alphabetized the same way a standard Reference List, Works Cited, or Bibliography is done, by the lead author’s last name or, if there is no author, by the first word of the title (excluding a, an, and the).
  •  Your annotated bibliographies will be double spaced and follow APA format.

Examples of Annotated Bibliographies (Good and Bad)