Compose Annotations of Research Studies

Research Studies : This week, you will draw on your references gathered during this course, and any other references from other courses related to the topic of your research review, to compile an annotated bibliography. Be sure to make use of your new note-taking skills when preparing the information in the annotated bibliography and follow APA form and style in preparing the bibliographic information. Include a title page indicating the topic of the assignment; but beyond that, there is no need for an introduction or a conclusion, as annotations have a unique style of their own. Use the framework of headings outlined this week. The headings should be bolded, and the annotations need to be double-spaced.

Your annotated bibliography should include at least three entries following the four-part outline provided this week. These would be bolded and on the left margin. Use the suggested template to help with the assignment.

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Type and Purpose

Methodology

Findings and Conclusions

Evaluation

Length: Each annotation should be 300-500 words or 1–1.5 pages; total length for three annotations would be 3-5 pages, double-spaced.

References: Include a minimum of 3 peer-reviewed scholarly resources

Your response should reflect graduate-level writing and APA standards.

 

Evaluate Scholarly Research Studies
Annotations are systematic summaries that attempt to capture the important information of an article, particularly in the case of a research study. Annotations provide excellent practice with the language used to discuss research: clear and concise paraphrasing using the relevant theoretical and technical terminology. The annotations should be written in a narrative format with a minimum of direct quotations. Those are usually limited to hypotheses and research questions, as those are difficult to paraphrase. They should not be answers to the questions posed below (those are for locating information), nor should they be composed of one or more bulleted lists of information. The annotations will be double-spaced, but the headings will be on the left margin. The following outline follows the format recommended by University, and it has prompts for what information should be in each section. Use this format, as it can serve as an outline for critical reading of the research articles, and it will ensure you have the necessary information in the correct order.

List the reference at the top for the annotation using APA style.

Type and Purpose
What specific type of study was it? What was the purpose of the study?
What was/were the hypothesis or hypotheses of the study [quantitative] or the research questions [qualitative]?
Describe both if it was a mixed method study.
Describe the population and sample.
Methodology
What was the research design of the study?
What was/were the method(s) of data collection?
What was/were the method(s) of data analysis?
What were the variables (dependent and independent) used in the study [quantitative design]?
Findings and Conclusions
What were the findings based on the analysis of the data?
What were the conclusions based on the findings?
Evaluation
What limitation(s) were mentioned by the author(s)?
What is the relationship of the study to similar research?
What is the usefulness of the study for your purposes?
The following is an explanation of how annotations of scholarly research studies are developed. If would be helpful to use the checklist from Activity 4 when reading the articles. You should by now know the meanings of all the italicized terms used, starting with the similarities and important difference(s) between quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research designs. Finally, note that annotations are double-spaced.

Below is the basic framework of headings used in an annotation. This is followed by descriptions of what type(s) of information should be summarized in each section of the annotation, including examples of “Inadequate” statements that do not have sufficient detail and “Better” statements indicating a preferred level of detail.

List the Reference at the Top of the Annotation Using APA-style Self-Check

Type and Purpose
Methodology
Findings and Conclusions
Evaluation
Type and Purpose. Start the annotation with a clear and concise statement of the type and purpose of the study. Was it quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods? Remember that not all scholarly articles are research studies; many are literature reviews of past research or commentaries on various topics. Be sure to emphasize research studies as you are looking for research findings to support the discussion in the research paper. Also remember that quantitative and qualitative are general categories, not specific types, so try to be specific with the type. The purpose of the study should be clearly stated.

 

Inadequate: Smith used a quantitative study to determine how virtual teachers use digital resources to enhance learning.

Better: Smith used a cross-sectional study to determine how virtual teachers use digital resources to enhance learning.

 

Inadequate: Smith used a qualitative study to determine how virtual teachers use digital resources to enhance learning.

Better: Smith used a qualitative interview study to determine how virtual teachers use digital resources to enhance learning.

 

The other part of this section of the annotation would be to indicate the specific focus of the study. For a quantitative study, this would be the research question(s) framed as a hypothesis (or hypotheses, plural) which would be proved or disproved by the numerical method(s) of analysis. Qualitative studies use one or more research questions that frame the method(s) of inquiry. Remember that a mixed methods study uses both quantitative and qualitative methods, so be sure to indicate which questions relate to the quantitative part and which to the qualitative part. If you quote text from the study, be sure to include a page reference. Keep quotations to a minimum, but hypotheses and research questions often cannot be paraphrased.

Methodology. First, briefly summarize the population and sample (the number of participants) and any aspects of the sample that are part of the study (age, gender, ethnicity, etc.). After the population and sample, the main information you need in this section would be a summary of the method(s) of data collection and method(s) of the data analysis.

Inadequate: The sample was 50 teachers from three schools in Georgia. Teachers responded to a survey questionnaire that was analyzed with descriptive statistics.

Better: Smith used a purposive sampling of 50 ESL and EFL teachers from three schools in Georgia. Teachers reported their methods, procedures, and purposes of assessments in response to a survey questionnaire. The questionnaire was analyzed by computer using a non-parametric descriptive analysis to report findings.

 

Inadequate: Seventy-five faculty members served as participants. Qualitative data was collected and reported using statistics and analysis of participant responses.

Better: Seventy-five faculty members working within the secondary certification program served as participants for the study which collected data over a five-year span. Data was collected through pre and post surveys, observations, evaluations, and interviews. Results were reported using descriptive statistics; data was cross-tabulated using paired t-tests. Qualitative methods (content analysis) were used when analyzing participant responses.

 

Findings and Conclusions. Using paraphrasing, summarize the findings in the context of the data analysis. This is one of the more difficult sections to write, as often in the article the discussion of the findings is challenging, sometimes involving detailed charts and graphs or extensive analysis of statistical or qualitative results. Try to find in the article where this information is summarized, often toward the end of the Discussion section. This will take practice as you continue to read and analyze scholarly research studies.

Inadequate: The study showed that the at-risk population did better than the comparison group on the state-mandated test. This indicated that the use of technology was successful.

Better: The statistical analysis of the data indicated that 90% of the at-risk population passed the exam, while 87% of the comparison population passed the test. While there was no significant difference in the passing rate of the two groups, the at-risk group was not expected to score as well as their counterparts. Therefore, the implementation of technology into the classroom had a positive effect on the predicted performance of the at-risk students on the state-mandated test.

Inadequate: The results of the qualitative study showed that it was important for schools and administrators to have better relations with parents and families. These relations should emphasize cultural aspects that were revealed in the study.

Better: Two themes resulted from content analysis of the focus group data: community experiences, and barriers to effective school engagement. In the context of the community experiences theme, parents believed that there was a lack of cultural enrichment for families of color. They also felt isolated in their own community, and they felt subjected to both colorblind racism and cultural ignorance. The second theme centered around issues that parents felt the school and superintendent should know: lack of cultural competency in the schools, stereotyping, and the disproportionality of race in suspensions and another school discipline.

Evaluation. Two important things to know about the Evaluation section. First, it is not a place to summarize or comment on the conclusions of the study; this would go in the above section. Second, it is not a place for your personal critique or interpretation of the study. There are three elements to the Evaluation section. First, describe any limitation(s) that were mentioned by the author(s). Second, comment on any relationship the study might have to similar research. Third, indicate the usefulness of the study for your own purposes.

Inadequate: The study showed the need for strategies that promote partnerships with parents and families and should also include in coursework as a part of field experiences. Adding longitudinal data could show changes in teacher candidates’ beliefs, attitudes, and skills over time. It was a good study.

Better: One limitation indicated by the researchers was the small sample size. The second limitation indicated potential validity issues related to self-reporting in the data collection. The study did affirm the findings of the Smith and Jones (2016) study which asked similar questions using a survey methodology. I can use these findings to support my discussion of the importance of school-family partnerships.

 

Cautions Related to Writing Annotations
Annotations are not short papers about the article being annotated, so avoid excessive narrative context which would be needed in a paper. The purpose of annotations is to provide you with pertinent information from the article or resource at a later date when you may not recall the specifics of the reference. That is why it is important that they be clear and concise and follow a regular and predictable sequence. The clarity of the annotations would be improved by systematically following the suggested outline. This would give them a uniform organization for future reference. Annotations are essentially a fill-in-the-blank exercise with a minimum of commentary or editorializing. This is a kind of writing that has a style all on its own: basically, it consists of dry systematic summaries of research, but in a way that will be useful for later reference.

Comment on the Evaluation section: Don’t confuse the Evaluation section with commenting on the conclusions based on the findings. Also, it is not a place for your personal evaluation or interpretation (opinion) of the study. The purpose of the Evaluation section is three-fold: to list any limitations mentioned by the researcher(s), to compare the research to other similar studies, and to comment on the usefulness of the research to your purposes.

Be sure to review this week’s resources carefully. You are expected to apply the information from these resources when you prepare your assignments.

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