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Annotated Bibliography

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Pre-Institute Assignment #4
Annotated Bibliography- searching for previous research in the SoTL field
Due: Wednesday, 7/7

1.   Learn where to find published resources relevant to your SoTL project
2.   Identify appropriate key words to use in your searches
3.   Begin to build an annotated bibliography for use in our program

Your assignment:
1.   Find 5 references relevant for your project – either as work you will build on and/or providing technique(s) you are interested in using.  Be sure that you have chosen a range of references from journal articles through digital portfolios or posters.  Be sure that at least two sources were found using an ERIC search.
2.   Annotate these 5 references and tell us why they are useful for your project (see below for more information how to write an annotated bibliography)
3.  Create a new “Bibliography” tab under your individual main page as follows:

•    Login to the wiki: 
•    Go to your individual main page under 2011 Research Cohort 
•    In the orange control bar at the top of the page, click “Add Page” and label it “Bibliography”. Upload your information by either pasting it to the page or attaching a document and be sure to click the “save” button.

At the end of this text, we provide example from previous Scholars.

Searching Resources

Why are you engaging in this detailed literature search?
A significant part of the process of scholarly work is to build on what others have done.  However, the literature of a field can often seem overwhelming and impenetrable when you are new to it, and it seems easier to “do your own thing”.  And it is all too common in teaching to teach by instinct and not make use of the rapidly expanding literature of good research into learning.  That is why we are taking the relative luxury of time available in the summer to let you begin to immerse yourself in the literature.

Where will you find previous research?
For scientists moving to educational research it is not always clear where to look for this information because it is usually not in the databases with which we are familiar, such as PubMed.  Most confusingly, much of the research being done in the SoTL field is represented most richly in a diversity of on-line sources.  Some of the key sites for finding educational research and SoTL research are:

The articles and books and electronic resources we read in class.  Don’t forget to use research that you have already encountered to help you find new research.  Almost everything that you read was an excerpt from a larger source.  Read more of that text, look in the bibliography, … Use the ‘six degrees of separation’ principle to move in a productive trajectory through the literature.

ERIC, Educational Resources Information Center.  (  This is a searchable bibliographic database where you will find many of the references important in educational research.  The database is run by the government and is free. There is a special talent to searching using ERIC, and it is described at the end of this document in more detail. 

PubMed.  Despite what was said above, there are several education-oriented journals published by scientific societies and science education articles within mainstream science journals.  These can be found in PubMed.  You can also go directly to some of the top ones, such as: Life Science Education ( and Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education ( which is open-access and searchable.

Various psychology databases (such as PsycINFO).  There is a rich field of educational psychology – the origin of much of the work represented in the How People Learn series of books. 

Mountain Rise.  This is one of an emerging set of journals devoted to SoTL research.  (

Journal of Cognitive and Affective Learning.  A slightly more established journal that also features SoTL research.  ( Past issues still exist but no longer printing new issues.

Lesson Study.  This site focuses on the use of Lesson Study principles in teaching at the college level, but is has an emerging array of case studies available, too.  (

Carnegie Foundation.  There are some useful resources on the Carnegie website that may be of interest:
o    the Higher Ed work in the CASTL program (
o    the K-12 work in both the Quest and CASTL programs (
o    the galleries (http://gallery.carnegiefoundation.or...p_toolkit.html)
o    and the publications section of their website (

The Peer Review Site.  (  This site is a wonderfully rich resource of teaching portfolios submitted by professors and reviewed by their peers.

The Visible Knowledge Project.  (  This site contains electronic portfolios from one of the first national SoTL projects involving over 70 professors from institutions across the country.

What is an annotated bibliography and how do you write one?
An annotated bibliography adds to the traditional list of citations a paragraph that provides both a description of the research, a critical evaluation of the quality of the content, and the relevance of the citation to your work.   These annotations are typically ~150 words.  There are many on-line sites that describe annotated bibliographies and how to create them.  I found one of the most helpful to be at the University of Toronto ( 

You should do your references in APA style.  You can find information about how to cite within the text and list in the bibliography a wide variety of sources in APA style at the Duke library site (

ERIC searches:
As with any database search, knowing the key words that get you what you want is critical.  I will give you a search to do in ERIC that will get you started.  Use the following search terms in the "Advanced Search" option and perform a search with these terms:

1.    Biotechnology
2.    High School

Look at one of the results you got back – should be something like 74 results.
o    The top line "ERIC #" will start with either ED or EJ.  ED=ERIC document, EJ = ERIC journal.  I personally am more interested in the EJ because these are articles in peer reviewed journals.  ED listings are documents people have placed in ERIC and do not necessarily undergo any review.  Do not ignore ED documents, they may be dissertations, etc. that you think are credible and provide useful information.
o    "Descriptors" can provide you with ideas of other terms to search with.

If at this point you go back and add “literacy” into your search terms, you can narrow the search down to 5 references.  So keep in mind that this search works well with an array of search term categories (level of education, scientific topic, pedagogical term, etc).

Annotated Bibliography Examples from Previous Scholars

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