How to Write Annotated Bibliography (Step by Step Guide)

Assignment 1
There are two assessment tasks for this course.

  • Assignment 1 requires you to undertake a literature review of topics related to this course to provide a platform for completion of assignment 2
  • Assignment 2 requires you to critically analyse the processes and systems adopted in a chosen project.

Use of Endnote (or other bibliographic software)
You are strongly urged to use Endnote for this assignment and for other assessment activities in your studies across all courses. Endnote and other referencing, bibliographic or citation software programs:

  • manage and organise references into personalised groups
  • serve as a personal record of your research notes and annotations on PDFs
  • search those notes and annotations as well as the full text of PDFs
  • enable collaboration using shared libraries either as read/write or read only
  • may have a cloud based version which performs all the functions of the desktop and keeps libraries on different computers in sync (the Endnote cloud version needs a licenced desktop copy to fully enable all features).

There are many different products, some freely downloadable such as Zotero and Mendeley; and others built in to the word processor, as in MS Office Word. Those that are most reliable are commercial products such as RefWorks, BibTeX and EndNote. To find out more about Endnote which can be downloaded at no cost by USQ students, go to
Context :
You are working as a project team member in a project management office (PMO) and the manager of the PMO has asked you to participate in a review of the PMO’s project processes and systems to be applied to an upcoming project which is of medium to large size and complexity (this project review will form part of your assignment 2 so you should consider your selection of a suitable project before you commence assignment 1).
 Your task
Your initial task is to carry out a survey of the literature on project processes and systems to inform the review. You have been asked to:

  • identify contemporary and seminal literature on this topic and
  • to present your findings as an annotated bibliography that covers the following areas:
  1. Identification of issue or problem the organization is experiencing that relates to or has influence on the delivery method of your chosen project (the one you intend to review in assignment 2). Note: choose a chronic problem whose history is known
  2. Review theories that capture the key elements of the problem
  3. Review case histories of the problem containing possible solutions.

The total length of your assignment 1 is to be approx. 2000 words. Remember that the assignments in the project management courses require referencing to use Harvard AGPS6 formatting and not APA. Using the incorrect referencing format could lose marks.
What is an annotated bibliography?
The University of New England indicates that an annotated bibliography ‘provides a brief overview of the available research on a topic and that ‘compiling an annotated bibliography will help the researcher think about the relevance and quality of the material on a topic. Does the information meet the requirements of the topic? Is the information from a reliable and academically respected source?’ (‘Writing an annotated bibliography’).  A guide on how to write an annotated bibliography, and an example of one, is available at
You can also find numerous short videos online on how to write an annotated bibliography. Most will say similar things but make sure you follow the guidelines set out below for this assignment. One example on YouTube can be found at
Annotated bibliography
For assignment 1, provide the following:
Mark sheet/rubric (see separate mark sheet and rubric)
Table of contents

  1. Organisational context (200 words)

In this section, describe the organisational and project context for which you are preparing the annotated bibliography. You can base this on a PMO with which you have direct experience, or on a case study from the literature. Include details such as the type of chronic issues or problems it has and their influence on the projects they under. Prepare an influence diagram to assist in the explanation.

  1. The annotated bibliography (approximately 1600 words)
  • Carry out a literature review for the three topics listed below and present your findings in the form of an annotated bibliography.

3 • Details of how to structure your annotated bibliography are provided below. • Review two resources for each of the three topics (i.e. total number of resources to be annotated is 6). • Each annotated bibliography is to be approximately 250 words. • One of the resources in each of the three sections must be a blind peer-reviewed journal article. The remaining resource may be a non-refereed journal article, material from an organisation which is publicly available, or a book chapter. • No more than one of the resources in each section is to be drawn from the provided course study materials. • Select materials that are relevant to the organisational/project context you have selected and the topic lists that have been requested.

  • The resources in each of the three sections are to be listed in alphabetical order.

2.1. Identification of issue or problem (affecting the delivery method) in the organisation:

  • Resource 2.1.1
  • Resource 2.1.2 2.2.

2.2Theories that capture the key elements of the problem:

  • Resource 2.2.1
  • Resource 2.2.2 2.

2.3. Case histories of the problem containing possible solutions:

  • Resource 2.3.1
  • Resource 2.3.2 3.

Conclusions (200 words) 
What key conclusions can you draw from the annotated bibliography that will help you in assignment 2?
 Reference List
Structure of your annotated bibliography
For each resource in your annotated bibliography, provide the following:

  1. Reference: A full reference of the artefact that is to be reviewed (journal article, book chapter, etc.). This would include author, year, title, etc. This will be the same as the information in the list of references at the end of the assignment. Use the USQ Harvard AGPS6 style
  2. Focus: One or two sentences explaining the article’s focus or purpose and confirming that the resource chosen is highly relevant to the topic and the organizational context.
  3. Research method and analysis: A summary of the research approach/method or source of information for the resource, and a brief analysis of the content discussed, the major findings, and the conclusions of the resource.
  4. Reflection: A critical reflection on the value, reliability, completeness and limitations of the resource (are there gaps in the argument that should have been addressed?). Clearly describe the strengths and weaknesses of the resource.
  5. Justification: A justification of why this resource is important in the context of the development of your PMO’s procedures (i.e. evaluate the resource in terms of your context). What information or insights does it provide that are useful for the organisation and how provides a solution to the problem?
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