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On the value of annotated bibliographies as scholarly outputs

Recientemente I wrote a Twitter thread on the value of annotated bibliographies, which I wanted to turn into a blog post because I wanted to really strengthen my argument. As most of you who read my blog post know, I HAVE written about annotated bibliographies, literature reviews, systematic reviews, etc.

In my view, an annotated bibliography, a literature review and a systematic review are three important exercises in systematizing all the material we read. In my view, ABs, LRs and SRs have increasing degrees of complexity, as I show below.

Annotated Bibliography Lit Review Systematic Review

Source: My own construction.

This thread started at the request of one of my students, as the tweets below show.

For me, producing an annotated bibliography and/or gnerating a bank (or set) of rhetorical precis (or a bank of article and book chapter summaries written in index cards) is the prerequisite step BEFORE writing the literature review.Often times, my students simply prefer to show me their Excel Dump.

CSED and reviewing the literature

Personally, I very strongly believe that Annotated Bibliographies are legitimate scholarly outputs. For one of my projects on water conflicts, I asked one of my research assistants to produce an annotated bibliography on the sociological concept of “framing” and “Frame Analysis”

Anybody who reads my AB on Comparative Ethnography can say “oh wow, there’s X author and Y author, and Z book and W chapter, and those are probably the first ones I should read”. It saves time for other scholars (including my own students).

The intermediate step between writing an annotated bibliography (or building a deck of index cards on a topic, or a bank of rhetorical precis, or a set of Synthetic Notes) and producing the Literature Review is the DIGESTION, ANALYSIS AND SYNTHESIS of everything they’ve read.

Overall, I strongly believe in the value of teaching our students to do Annotated Bibliographies, THEN Literature Reviews, THEN Systematic Reviews. My website has resources on each one of these, and the links above in the tweets shown should also work. Hopefully this post will be of use to instructors and students alike!

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Posted in academia, research, research methods, writing.

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