Annotated Bibliography & Literature Review Memo

(also referred to as “Instructions Literature Review”)

Instructions, manuals, and procedures are some of the most common technical documents you will write and use in any field. For those in STEM-related fields, such as technology and healthcare, instructions and procedures are especially important. Therefore, understanding what makes effective and useful instructions is important. For this project, you will collect, summarize, evaluate, and synthesize research, using the following steps:

  • Perform academic research on “good” instructions. Your aim in this research is to answer questions related to:
    • How do people write effective and useful instructions?
    • what are the features of effective and useful instructions?
    • How does document design impact instructions usefulness?
    • What makes instructions accessible?
    • How do we test or analyze instructions for usability?
  • Annotate sources in an MLA- or APA-formatted Annotated Bibliography.
  • Write a brief Literature Review memo that provides context for the importance of instructions and lists 3-4 synthesized ideas you found in your research.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify content and design requirements for writing effective instructions
  • Integrate source summaries, paraphrases, and quotes effectively
  • Evaluate sources for currency/timeliness, authority, bias, and accuracy.
  • Document sources appropriately (in MLA or APA)
  • Synthesize research

Deliverables / Audiences

  • MLA- or APA-formatted Annotated Bibliography / No Specific Audience
  • Literature Review Memo / Addressed to Professor Bishop

Annotated Bibliography Content Requirements (about 5 pages, total)

  • Provide an MLA or APA citation for each source
  • Summarize the source’s main ideas, including paraphrased and quoted information with parenthetical citations (see “Integrating & Documenting Sources PowerPoint”)
  • Reflect on what you learned from each source
  • Evaluate each source for currency, credibility, accuracy, etc (Ch. 6)

Annotated Bibliography Formatting Requirements

  • Overall document should be MLA or APA formatted. You can Google MLA and APA formatted Annotated Bibliographies for basic format requirements
  • Each source annotation should be ¾-page to 1-page long.

Annotated Bibliography Source and Research Requirements

  • Must annotate 5+ sources
  • All sources must be credible. Sources may include, but are not limited to:
    • Your textbook (information from chapters on document design, usability, instructions, etc)
    • Academic information from the PGCC database (reaching out to a PGCC librarian could be useful!)
    • Online sources from .edu or .gov websites, writing professionals, and experts in instruction design and documentation
    • WikiBooks is acceptable, but do not use Wikipedia or WikiHow as a source
  • Consider the following search terms:
    • Effective + instructions; effective + manuals; effective + tutorials;
      guidelines + writing + instructions;
    • Instructions + design; visuals + instructions; designing + tutorial

usability + instructions; instructions + testing

Literature Review Memo Content Requirements (1.5 – 2.5 pages)

  • Provide standard memo content areas, including: purpose statement, summary/overview, body discussion, and a conclusion/recommendation (Ch. 14)
  • Write 3-4 clear, informative body paragraphs (Ch. 9).
    • Each paragraph should discuss one topic you learned about in your research
    • For each topic paragraph, identify which sources discuss this topic

Literature Review Formatting Requirements

  • Includes all major parts of a memo, as discussed in Ch. 14:

oMemo heading (To, From, Date, Subject)

oHeader with page number


Submit deliverables to the Instructions Literature Review Submission link. Submit all documents as PDF or Word files.


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