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BADM Senior Seminar: Annotated Bibliography

Sustainable Business and Corporate Social Responsibility

Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a list of sources, properly cited, with a short summary following each source. The summary, typically 1-2 paragraphs of 4-6 sentences, provides information about the source and why it is important to your research. Your professor may have requirements like including introductory and concluding paragraphs, so be sure to consult with them.

Annotation Example

Hoover's Company Records (2017). Google LLC profile. Retrieved from


This profile is prepared by an in-house research team for Hoover's that is dedicated to keeping current information about companies, their industries, their key employees, and their competitors. This profile, updated in December of 2017, contains financial data as well as important biographical information that provides solid foundational knowledge about Google. The company description details information about Alphabet's acquisition of Google in 2015, which helps give context to Google's sister companies. The section on competitors includes Google's closest competitors profit margins and gross revenues, making it easy to compare financial data

Steps for Writing An Annotated Bibliography

1. Locate: Locate your sources according to your assignment requirements. Remember, the library's databases are the best places to find scholarly, peer-reviewed articles.

 2. Cite: Create a citation for each of your sources using the required citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.). Different types of sources require different citations. Please see the library or Writing Center if you need assistance.

3. Determine relevance: Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the main point of this article?

  • How does it relate to your topic?

  • Why is it important to your research?

4. Determine authority: Who is the author? What are their credentials? Have they written about this topic before?Use Google to find information about your author.

5. Bias: Read your source again and concentrate on any bias the author may have. Do they work in that industry? Do they own shares in the company? Do they have a political stance that conflicts or complements the company? The answers to these questions will help you determine if there is bias present. If there is, include it in your annotation.

6. Write!: Using the above information, write your annotation below the citation. Annotations are short, descriptive, and critical. Use the previous questions as a starting point to help inject some critical analysis to your annotation. 

Locating Sources

Where do you find the information that you need for your research? It can be helpful to think about where to get your sources before you start getting deep in your annotated bibliography. You will likely want to consult the following types of resources:

Academic Databases: databases available through the Library have access to scholarly articles from peer-reviewed journals that are great secondary sources to use in research. In our databases, you'll have access to articles about specific companies and industries, company profile with Hoover's Company Records, and documents like SWOT analyses. You can use companies and organizations as keywords, but don't forget that research about concepts and industries will be helpful, too.

Grey Literature: Grey (or gray) literature is research completed by organizations and institutions that is not peer-reviewed. This kind of research is usually done by governments, nonprofits, research institutions, and professional association groups. These are great places to get sources on trends in your industry related to sustainability. Use the "web sources" for suggestions of sites to start with.

Company Websites: Company websites will be the best sources for information like annual financial reports, sustainability reports and initiatives, and shareholder information. Many companies keep this information on a website separate from their consumer-focused sites, so you may need to search a bit to find it. 

Business Periodicals/Magazines: Use periodicals and business magazines to get current articles and takes on general trends and news about business and sustainability. The "library sources" tab has some good suggestions for periodicals/magazines available either in the library or through the library website. 

Newspapers: Newspapers (online and hardcopy), especially business-oriented ones like the Wall Street Journal, are your best bets for finding out about breaking news. The "library sources" tab lists some basic business newspapers you should know about, but don't forget to check the business sections of top newspapers like the New York Times or the Washington Post.

Professional Association Websites: Professional associations are great resources for reports on overall industry trends. This will give you a top-level overview of things impacting your sector. The "web sources" tab of this guide has a few sustainability-focused association websites, but also look for associations specific to your industry as well. For example, if you're researching Coca-Cola Bottling, you can take a look at a sustainability-focused association as well as associations that focus on bottling, beverages, or distribution. 

Hoover's Business Profiles

Hoover's Company Records are great resources for information about companies, including financials, information on executives, and even industry competitors. To access these records in the databases, follow these steps: 

  1. Go to the library's website
  2. In the left-hand menu, click on Databases & Scholarly Articles under the "Trinity Library Resources" section
  3. Select ProQuest from the list of databases
  4. In the upper-menu, select the Databases tab
  5. Uncheck the "Select All" option at the top of the list
  6. Scroll down until you see the Business Market Research Collection link, then click it
  7. Click the link that says Look up companies/organizations, which is located to the right of the Company/Organization search field toward the middle of the page
  8. Enter your company's name, click find (you may need to try a few variations of your company's name in order to locate it)
  9. Check the box next to your company in the results, then click the add to search button in the bottom right
  10. Click the green search button
  11. From the list of results, choose the result from Hoover's Company Records to access your companies profile

Databases @ Trinity

"Literature review" (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by Raul P

Use these general databases to get started with your sustainable business research.

How to use databases

Quick reminders for database searching:

  • Databases understand keywords and terms best
  • Have a list related keywords ready so you can swap them if your original ones aren't working
  • Use 2-4 keywords per search
  • Select "full-text" to limit your results to articles you can read now
  • If you need help with selecting keywords or databases, see a librarian for assistance

Annotated Bibliography vs. Literature Reviews

Annotated bibliographies and literature reviews are similar in that they both describe sources within a particular area of study, but their differences outnumber their similarities. Annotations, or the summaries of a source, in annotated bibliographies cover the relationship between that source and your topic. Literature reviews concentrate on the relationships between works on your topic- so they're much more integrative and analytical.

Here are a few other key points to keep in mind: 

  • Annotated bibliographies are formatted as a list of topics, while literature reviews are papers
  • Sources in annotated bibliographies are listed alphabetically, while they are woven into the paragraphs in a literature review.
  • Think of annotated bibliographies as a handy list, and literature reviews as a summary of a scholarly conversation.