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POLS 360: Women, War, and Violence (Malik) Spring 2024

Annotated Bibliography - what a literature review is not

A literature review is not an annotated bibliography. 

But - your annotated bibliography is an important step towards thinking about and organizing your literature review.

Preparing to write a literature review

"A literature review, like a term paper, is usually organized around ideas, not the sources themselves as an annotated bibliography would be organized. This means that you will not just simply list your sources and go into detail about each one of them, one at a time. No.

As you read widely but selectively in your topic area, consider instead what themes or issues connect your sources together.

  • Do they present one or different solutions?
  • Is there an aspect of the field that is missing?
  • How well do they present the material and do they portray it according to an appropriate theory?
  • Do they reveal a trend in the field? A raging debate?

Pick one of these themes to focus the organization of your review."

Literature Reviews – The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (


Literature Review visual