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Resources for your research in horticutlure

Annotated bibliographies

For this assignment, you are being asked to prepare an annotated bibliography of your sources.

An annotated bibliography is both a properly formatted citation (in this case, using APA style), plus a paragraph discussing the source. Your discussion should summarize the source, and also include some evaluative assessment of it. You may wish to tell you readers about the usefulness of a source for your own topic, how it compares to other sources on the topic, what the author was tryiing to achieve, and how you will incorporate the source into your own work.

The references in an annotated bibliography will be arranged just as you would a reference list, but with the addition of your summarizing paragraph directly below each.

Ask Yourself: Which source is the best?


You are researching the effects of road salt on soil quality.

Use your best critical thinking skills to determine which is the better source for your research paper.

Pick the best source
Negative effects of road salt on a lawn: 2 votes (1.2%)
Long-term impact of road salt (NACL) on soil and urban trees in Edmonton, AB: 160 votes (95.81%)
Impact of salts on plants and how to reduce plant injury from winter salt applications: 5 votes (2.99%)
Total Votes: 167

Start with a Summon search

Start your research with the library's search engine Summon.

  • use 2 or 3 keywords to focus your topic; put phrases in quotation marks i.e. "rock dust" (and) soil
  • use the content filters on the side to limit to scholarly articles, books, or other material types

How can you tell the difference between scholarly, trade, and popular publications? See this page.

Why should I use a database?

Best Bets

Below are the research databases we recommend for starting your article search. You can use these to locate articles in scholarly journals as well as trade publications.

Remember: It's good research strategy to do your searches in MORE THAN ONE database.

To browse the more than 100 databases  the Library offers you, please visit our Research database page.

Free/Open Access Databases

 Try these free, open access databases for articles, research, and government reports.

Not all journals and academic publishers are legitimate. Some use deceptive tactics to lure authors into paying to have their work published in for-profit journals that use little or no peer-review.

Check this guide from University of Saskatchewan Library for further details. 

Is it any good?

From North Carolina State University Libraries.

Writing and Citing

Take a minute to read this page from the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University.

Pay attention to the various situations in which you need to credit your sources.

Then, answer the questions below.

1. You include this statement in the opening of your introduction:

"Soil provides nutrients and water to most plants."

Does a reference need to be provided for this statement?

Yes. Anything that is not your own idea must be given a reference.: 0 votes (0%)
No. It's common knowledge.: 0 votes (0%)
It depends on whether you are taking this from another source.: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 0

2. You find a useful diagram on a public site on the Web that you want to include in your assignment. Do you need to tell your reader where it came from?

No. If it came from the Web, you can just use it without attribution.: 0 votes (0%)
Yes. Even though it may have come from a free site, it still requires attribution.: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 0

3. You decide to use one of your own photographs to illustrate a point you are making in your report. How will you refer to this?

You don't need to if it's your own.: 0 votes (0%)
You still have to label it and refer to it in the body of your paper.: 0 votes (0%)
You have to number it, refer to it in the body of your paper, and include a refernce to it on your reference list.: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 0

ASA-CSSA-SSSA Publication Style

For details on citing sources and preparing a paper according to the guidelines of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, please consult the Publications Handbook and Style Manual.

Most relevant information will be found in Chapter 1 (pp. 10-19), available for download.

For additional tips, consult Washington State University's SSSA Quick Guide.

Need to decipher an abbreviated journal title? Use this tool from American Chemical Society to find the full name of a journal.

ASA citation style is very similar to APA, with some differences. Pease consult the above resources to ensure you are using correct formatting, punctuation, and style.