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How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

Information and resources on how to create an annotated bibliography.

What are Landmark Studies?

Landmark articles are centrally important because they've reported a breakthrough, insight, or new idea of great importance within that research topic.  Landmark studies change our understanding of a topic, and form the canon of works important to a topic.

Landmark articles are also called core, pivotal, classic, core, or seminal works. 

These landmark articles are referred to time and time again in the research--they are cited frequently.

When writing an annotated bibliography, it is important that you try to identify and include landmark articles in your work. 

Identify Landmark Studies

Identifying landmark articles will take some work on your part.  They...

  • Are sometimes labeled as seminal or classic, but don't count on this.
  • Require a thorough examination of the scholarly literature. 
  • Are highly cited in the literature.   Note, however, that controversial articles may also be highly cited--only a thorough examination of the literature will allow you to differentiate between the two.
  • Have often been published some time ago.

  Image source: Public Domain, CIA.

Find Landmark Studies

  • Find a literature review on your topic. Literature reviews review the literature on a particular topic, oftimes pointing out major schools of thought and landmark studies.  Try a search of your keywords AND ("literature review" OR "review of the literature") in Political Science Complete, for example.
  • Dissertations and Theses A&I.  Often, a dissertation will provide a synopsis of the literature on that particular topic.  And most likely, the landmark studies will be identified.
  • Search OATD Open Access Theses & Dissertations indexes over 4 million open access graduate theses and dissertations. 
  • ​Search Google Scholar.  Pay attention to the Cited By numbers.  Again, most often (but not always--remember controversial articles are sometimes highly cited, too) articles with high Cited By numbers will be landmark articles.