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Della Keats Health Sciences Summer Program (WWAMI)

Annotated Bibliography

A bibliography provides readers with the author, title and publication details of a source. An annotated bibliography adds a brief summary, or annotation, about each source (book, magazine, journal, etc.). An annotation is different from an abstract.  Placed just below the facts of the publication, the annotation describes the content of the work. It should have several sentences summarizing the main points or ideas found in the item.  It should then include your own evaluation of the quality or the source's purpose, content, and special value. Be sure to use complete sentences and avoid wordiness.

Process for Writing an Annotated Bibliography

  1. List the complete bibliographical citation.
  2. Explain the main purpose of the work.
  3. Briefly describe the content.
  4. Indicate the possible audience for the work.
  5. Evaluate the relevance of the information.
  6. Note any special features.
  7. Warn readers of any defect, weakness, or bias.


Sample Annotation in an Annotated Bibliography

Using the APA format, here is a sample annotation:

Aroian, J. F., & Rauckhorst, L. (1998). Children's and adolescents' use of summer camp health facilities: A longitudinal study. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 13(4), 200-209.

Recognizing that "the summer camp health center allows children the freedom and self-responsibility to seek out health care on their own initiative," associate professors Rauckhorst and Aroian designed a study that examined the healthcare-seeking behaviors of school-aged children. Their descriptive study was based on retrospective reviews of health center logs from three summer camps spanning the years between 1977 and 1990. The study provides insight about the scope of practice for nurses in camp settings. Specifically, the research examined camper motivation for seeking healthcare related to accident/injury, communicable diseases, discomfort problems, and psychological concerns. The authors compared trends based on age and gender. Limitations of the study include the nonrandom sample and the use of the health center log as the only source of data about the campers' healthcare-seeking behavior. This article was a source of ideas for improving camp practice and suggested avenues for future research.

Sample Annotated Bibliography

Grief and Bereavement: An Annotated Bibliography

"Bereavement is the period of grief and mourning after a death. When you grieve, it's part of the normal process of reacting to a loss. You may experience grief as a mental, physical, social or emotional reaction. Mental reactions can include anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness and despair. Physical reactions can include sleeping problems, changes in appetite, physical problems or illness." (MedlinePlus definition)

Described here are several articles and books that help delineate the normal grief process from pathologic grief or depression, with an emphasis on bereavement in older people.

Journal Articles

Berzoff, J. (2011). The transformative nature of grief and bereavement. Clinical Social Work Journal, 39(3), 262-269. doi:10.1007/s10615-011-0317-6

This paper looks at the ways in which grief and mourning reconfigure the psychic structure of the bereaved. Mourning may be an occasion for acts of altruism. Mourning may offer new narratives of the self. Using clinical and nonclinical examples, the author argues that grief is always transformative. It may lead to self-hate and to lowered self-esteem but may also lead to new ideals, new capacities, and new kinds of relationships with the dead.

Bryant, R. A. (2013). Is pathological grief lasting more than 12 months grief or depression? Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 26(1), 41-46. doi:10.1097/YCO.0b013e32835b2ca2

DSM-5 and ICD-11 have proposed new psychiatric diagnoses to describe persistent and severe grief reactions. These initiatives have sparked much controversy because of concerns that diagnosing grief responses may overpathologize normative distress following bereavement. This review outlines the evidence for diagnosing grief.

Naef, R., Ward, R., Mahrer-Imhof, R., & Grande, G. (2013). Characteristics of the bereavement experience of older persons after spousal loss: An integrative review. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 50(8), 1108. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2012.11.026

Spousal loss can be a dramatic life event for older persons and a difficult experience that affects everyday life. Research shows that bereavement influences health and wellbeing in old age and involves changes in social networks. However, the nature of the bereavement experience for older widows/widowers remains unclear. This article is an integrative review of the literature using the framework developed by Whittemore and Knafl (2005).


Carr, D. (2006). Spousal bereavement in late life. United States: Springer Publishing Company.

This book provides insightful analysis and theoretical interpretation of factors that contribute to a range of adjustment patterns among bereaved persons in late life. It places the experience of widowhood in late life squarely within the context of contemporary society and explores a wide range of associated issues.

Osterweis, M., Solomon, F., Green, M., & Institute of Medicine (U.S.). Committee for the Study of Health Consequences of the Stress of Bereavement. (1984). Bereavement: Reactions, consequences, and care. Washington, D.C: National Academy Press.

This is a sourcebook for researchers and clinicians working in the area of bereavement. It provides an introduction to the field and should be of use to students as well as to professionals.  It addresses the questions: what is known about the health consequences of bereavement; what further research would be important and promising; and whether there are preventive interventions.


Axelrod, J. (2006). The 5 stages of loss & grief. Retrieved from

Grief and bereavement are universal experiences following the loss of a friend, family member, or beloved pet. These same symptoms can be found when dealing with a personal terminal illness. The five stages were defined by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in 1969. This website then gives descriptions of the five stages: 1. Denial and Isolation, 2. Anger, 3. Bargaining, 4. Depression, and 5. Acceptance.