How to Annotate Articles for Your Literature Review

Posted March 14, 2017

Annotating the articles and other sources for your literature review is an important, if not vital, aspect of the dissertation process. It enables you to quickly recall information about articles you have read and cited in your document, as well as help you to organize parts of your document. Because creating annotations can be so helpful to your dissertation process, it is important to know the best methods for doing so.

In order to successfully annotate articles, it is helpful to first think of and write down a couple of questions about what you have read or are about to read: What is this article about, what type of information was provided (was it a literature review, a study, etc.), and how does it correspond to your study. It can also prove beneficial to read each article already having these questions in mind, to help you identify key information as you go through. Once you have identified this information, you can take notes, make highlights or underlines, or use any other method that you prefer to make sure you can remember and return to this information later.

As you might have guessed, the answers to the above questions will guide your annotations. Answering these will help you establish the basis of your annotation, and from there it will be easier to branch out and add more information. Other information useful to add to your annotations include the article’s purpose, research questions, methodology, and the results. It can also be beneficial to mention the article’s Recommendations for Further Research section (if it has one), and the Limitations if your study will help to address them. Overall, your annotations should be about 2-3 paragraphs in length, per stephanie

Finally, once you have completed your annotations you can use them to organize parts of your dissertation, such as the Literature Review, as well as establish the basis for the discussion and synthesis of your articles.

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