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Biological Research - Annotations, Review Articles, and Citation Tools

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Biological Research and Policy Annotations, Review Articles and Citation ToolsH. Stephen McMinn, Biology Subject LibrarianBrookens Library


TopicsBiological Science Library ResourcesAbstracts vs. Annotated BibliographiesReview ArticlesBibliographic Management Tools

Library Resources - PrimaryBiological AbstractsMedline 3 Access PointsWeb of Science MultidisciplinaryScopus - Multidisciplinary

Library Resources - SecondaryChemical Abstracts SciFinderAgricola National Agricultural LibraryAcademic Search Complete Multidisciplinary -- Broadest

Abstract vs. Annotated BibliographyThe Abstract -- A summary of a works content Like all summaries, abstracts cover the main points of a piece of writingAbstracts help you decide whether an article is relevant for your purposes

The Annotated BibliographyA list of sources that provides publication information and a short description of each source called an annotationSome annotations merely describe the content and scope of the source Others evaluate the sources authority, currency, and relevance to a researchers purpose

What is an Annotation?A descriptive summary or explanation of a resourceProvides information about the content of the materialProvides an evaluation or critique of a resource (an evaluative summary)


Why Write an Annotation?Purpose of writing an annotation:Show that youve done thorough researchProvide additional information to make it easier to use the bibliographyGet a better sense of the scholarship on the subject matterProvide the reader with enough information to know whether they want to look at the resource for their own research


Things to include in an Annotation:

Summary of: Purpose, arguments and ideasDescription of what is included in the material - some specificsEvaluation and critique of its relevance to the research project at hand


MechanicsUse complete sentences. Keep them in the same present verb tense.Use your own ideas, words and sentences. Do not simply quote the author.Each annotation should be 3 to 5 sentences long. But sometimes it will be necessary to provide more than this.Give a description of what the resource is about.


Books/Book Chapters -- Where to get information for annotationsRead, review and thoroughly examine the book or chapter.For books:read the book, the introduction, the preface, the chapter titles and the summaries.If you cant read the entire book, read the chapters that are relevant to your research. Make note of additional items such as graphics, pictures, charts, index, works cited list, and notes.


Articles -- Where to Get Information for annotationsRead, review and thoroughly examine the article.For articles:Read the entire article.Make special note of the introductions to the article and the conclusions or summaries drawn.Do not simply quote the summary or abstract provided at the beginning of scholarly journal articles.Decide whether the additional information provided, such as images, and graphs, are useful in supporting the text.


Article - ExampleErinosho, Stella Y. The Making of Nigerian WomenScientists and Technologists, Journal of Career Development 24.1 (1991) : 71-80.


AbstractThe article focuses on issues related to Nigerian women scientists and technologists. Data on Nigerian universities indicate a dismal representation of women in science and technology. Women constituted a mere 17 percent of the total enrollment for science-related programmes in 1984 and 21 percent in 1988. Men outnumbered women by approximately 4:1 within the same period (1984-1988). The ratio of men to women in engineering was 19:1 in 1984 and 13:1 in 1988 while for veterinary medicine it was 10:1 in 1984 and 6:1 in 1988.

AnnotationWomen in Nigerian universities represented only 17% of scientific-related enrollees in 1984 & 1988 respectively. The purpose of this survey was to determine what some of the factors are that reinforce womens desire for and success in the sciences in Nigeria. Provides biographic portraits of a few successful Nigerian women. Includes survey data with responses from 209 of 520 Nigerian women in science and technology professions and university departments.

Book -- ExampleIrukwu, Enoh Etuk. Footprints: The Evolution of the Nigerian Woman. Lagos, Nigeria: Talkback Publishers Limited, 1994.

This book provides an overview and examination from the beginning of Nigerian independence in 1960. Offers a brief examination of some historical moments wherein Nigerian women came to the fore. Sets the tone for Nigerian womens progression since independence and situates their role in the development of the entire nation.


Another Book ExampleNwankwo, Nkechi. Gender Equality in Nigerian Politics. Lagos, Nigeria: Deutchetz Publishers, 1996.

Being the editor of Sunday Champion and holding a masters degree in mass communications provides the author with a good foundation for examining the role of the mass media in hindering and potentially enabling Nigerian womens participation in politics. Examines obstacles to womens power, representation, and participation in the media. The author utilizes the example of Norway for examining strategies for increasing womens participation in politics.


Review ArticlesReview articles are an attempt to summarize the current state of understanding on a topic. A review article re-presents previously published material, rather that reporting new facts or analysis. Review articles are sometimes also called survey articles or, in news publishing, overview articles.

Review Articles vs. Peer ReviewReview Articles are by definition Peer ReviewedPeer Review More than Editorial Review as Reviewed by Peers in the Field

Elements of Review ArticlesDefines and clarifies the topic or problemSummarizes previous investigations in order to inform the reader of the current state of researchIdentifies relations, contradictions, gaps, and inconsistencies in the literatureSuggests the next step or steps in addressing the topic or solving the problemHeavily Cited Large Bibliographies

Locating Review ArticlesReview Journals Annual Reviews , Progress in , Survey on, Quarterly Reviews, Trends in, etc.Using Indexes and AbstractsReview vs Review

CitationsAlways get the complete citation informationArticle title, journal title, author(s), year, volume, issues, pages, and abstract/notesKeep track of searches, notes, ideas, etc. Fully cite sources = avoiding plagiarism

TipsUse a citation management systemSuch as RefWorks, Zotero, Mendeley, etc.One word for these: invaluable. More work in NOT learning how to use these tools

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Biological Research and Policy – Annotations, Review Articles and Citation Tools H. Stephen McMinn, Biology Subject Librarian Brookens Library
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