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Study Skills

Resource Key

When accessing content use the numbers below to guide you:


Brief, basic information laid out in an easy-to-read format. May use informal language. (Includes most news articles)


Provides additional background information and further reading. Introduces some subject-specific language.

Level 3 resourceLEVEL

Lengthy, detailed information. Frequently uses technical/subject-specific language. (Includes most analytical articles)

Study skillsThis guide is designed to help students in years 10 and above. The guide is particularly relevant to students doing the VCE extended investigation subject. See also the simple annotated bibliography help guide

An annotated bibliography is a list of the resources you have used to support your work. Unlike a reference list [bibliography], an annotated bibliography also includes a short summary and your evaluation. Your annotated bibliography should include a reflection that explains why you have used, or not used, the item in your own work.

Always check your rubric and ask your teacher if you need to submit a reference list [bibliography], or an annotated bibliography, with your submitted work.

Annotated Bibliography | Overview

Level 2Your annotated bibliography helps you:

  • Familiarise and understand the material available on a particular topic.
  • Demonstrates to your teacher, and or reviewer, the quality and depth of the background reading that you have done.
  • Helps you stay on topic.
  • Helps you organise your sources so you can keep track of what you have read, as well as what you have chosen to use, and not use, and why you have chosen some items and not others.
  • Provides the ground work for your literature review.
What to include and layout

Your annotated bibliography should:

  • List all the resources you have read even if you have not included them in your final submitted work.
  • List all the resources you have used in alphabetical order by author surname. Where an item does not have an author, for example a web site, use the first part of the title instead of the author.
  • Include all relevant sources irrespective of format. For example: books and ebooks, magazines and journals, web sites, and videos. 

Check with your teacher first, but ideally your annotated bibliography should include the following:

(1) Citation, (2) Introduction, (3) Aims & Research methods, (4) Scope, (5) Usefulness, (to your research/ to a particular topic), (6) Limitations, (7) Conclusions, (8) Reflection (explain how this work illuminates your topic or how it will fit in with your research), (9) Article keywords if the author has made them available. See the following example for details.

Annotated Bibliography | Example

Level 3Key: (1) Citation (2) Introduction (3) Aims & Research methods (4) Scope (5) Usefulness (to your research/ to a particular topic) (6) Limitations (7) Conclusions (8) Reflection (explain how this work illuminates your topic or how it will fit in with your research)

[1.] Satterthwaite, D. (1997). Sustainable cities or cities that contribute to sustainable development. Urban Studies (Routledge), 34(10), 1667. Retrieved from

[3.] "This paper outlines a framework for assessing the environmental performance of cities in regard to the meeting of sustainable development goals...and healthy cities" [4.] The authors look at both the developed world and developing world and note that there are many different components to sustainable development. For example "environmental, economic, social, political, demographic, institutional and cultural goals have been said to be part of sustainable development' [6] While this paper is now twenty years old, and there has been considerable progress made in identifying and determining sustainable development, [5] this article is particularly useful as it provides clear framework to measure the work of other authors, as well as the research in my paper. [7] The authors conclude that cities have an impact that extends beyond the urban boundary and also make the point that because cities have more dense populations than rural areas, the environmental and health 'costs' are often less on a per capita basis than rural areas. [8] Google Scholar indicates it has been cited by many other authors,5&hl=en have cited this paper. As a result, this is an important foundation paper for my research.

[1] United Nations. (n.d.). Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Sustainable Development Goals. United Nations. Retrieved from

[2] This website is the official online platform used by the United Nations to provide up-to-date high level information about the global goal to make cities sustainable. [3 & 6] While the research methods that underlie the content on this site vary, it is a [5] useful clearing house for information on [4] government, community, and business projects relating to sustainable cities. [8] As such it provides an important reference point for my introduction and literature review and helps ensure my paper acknowledges the current state of play.


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