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Literature Reviews and Annotated Bibliographies: What is an Annotated Bibliography?

How to Use RefWorks

RefWorks, a licensed web-based bibliography and database manager, allows users to create their own personal citation/abstract database by importing citations from online databases, the ASU catalog, or text files.

Signing up

To use RefWorks, users must sign up for an individual account. First,
log in to ASU. You will be directed to the RefWorks page, where you sign up for individual account at the top of the gray column on the left hand side.  

Creating Folders

 Everyone affiliated with ASU (faculty, students and staff) can use RefWorks. Users may have many RefWorks accounts, but it is advised to create folders and name them for a specific ongoing project. Go to New Folder.

Importing citations into RefWorks  

Visit the following websites to import to RefWorks:

When importing into RefWorks from ASU Library databases, a Get It @ ASU sign will appear with the record, which will allow users to locate the article.

For more information about RefWorks, visit http://lib.asu.edu/help/refworks.

Managing RefWorks and Creating Bibliography


When users export articles from indexes owned by the ASU Library, the citations will appear in the Last Imported folder. Check the records and put them in the appropriate folder by using the Folders command on the top of the screen.

To create bibliography, take the following steps:

  1. Click on Bibliography on the top gray bar.
  2. Choose the style under the Output Style (e.g., APA – American Psychological Association, 5th Edition).
  3. Choose the format of the document (e.g., HTML, Word) using the dropdown menus under File Type to Create
  4. Choose the folder you want from the dropdown menus under Include to create bibliography.
  5. Click on Create Bibliography.

Note: If you choose Word format, the file will appear at the bottom of your computer.

What is an Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography:

Sometimes people confused Literature Reviews with Annotated Bibliographies but they are quite different in format but they are similar in purpose, to survey the literature.

So what is a annotated bibliography? "... is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.” Definition from Cornell University Library, available at http://olinuris.library.cornell.edu/ref/research/skill28.htm <Accessed September 26, 2011>

To write a good annotated bibliography you need to be:

  • Concise: Go to the point of what is the book/article about, in few words, summarize.
  • Evaluative: Determine who is the author, what is his/her expertise in the topic, how reliable is the information
  • Critical: Reflect on what is the strength and weakness of the work, what is missing, etc.
  • Comparative: how each piece review compares to other similar works

Useful site with tips on how to write an Annotated Bibliography:


 Write-n-Cite in RefWorks

This RefWorks Library Guide  provides instruction and direction on how to import citations into RefWorks.  

Subject Guide

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Ed Oetting
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