Student Handbook

5. Writing Guidelines

5.3. Annotated References

In many LearnOnline courses, the Tip Sheet assignment provides students the opportunity to explore a specific topic related to the course material. Formatted as a handout to be used by clients (or for training coaches), the “tip sheet” represents a tangible, take-away resource that can be readily used in practice after the course ends. Samples can be found within our Course Resources database. 

An integral component of the tip sheet assignment is the inclusion of an annotated reference list (also known as an annotated bibliography). An annotated reference includes two components: (1) the reference citation and (2) the annotation.

1. Reference Citation

Although a formal citation style is not required (e.g., APAMLA), it’s important that students present references in a consistent format (e.g., if you italicize book titles, ensure you italicize them throughout) and provide enough information so that the reader can locate the resource that you’ve cited. Two examples are provided below; the first is for a book and the second is for a website.

Neault, R. (2012). Career strategies for a lifetime of success (3rd ed.). Aldergrove, BC: Life Strategies Ltd. 

Knott, D. (n.d.).Writing an annotated bibliography. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto. Available at 

2. Annotation 

The annotation is a brief description of the selected resource. Beyond a simple overview of content, the annotation should indicate how the resource is helpful (i.e., why are you recommending it?). Discuss the usefulness, examine strengths and weaknesses, and describe your impression of the resource. The goal of the desription, similar to what would be found in a resource catalogue, is to motivate the reader to access the resource for a specific purpose. 

Neault, R. (2012). Career strategies for a lifetime of success (3rd ed.). Aldergrove, BC: Life Strategies Ltd. 

An essential resource for career development practitioners (CDPs) and clients alike, this book provides an overview of the career management process across a lifetime and for a wide variety of client types. Readers will learn how to assess personal attributes relevant to career paths in Time to Reflect: Understanding Yourself, explore developing labour market trends in Time to Explore: Understanding the Workplace, decide on careers that “fit” in Time to Choose: Identifying Career Possibilities, and prepare essential work-search documents in Time to Prepare: Developing Portfolios, Resumes, and Interview Skills. In Time for Action: Successful Marketing Strategies, readers will learn about marketing themselves to employers. Time to Look Ahead: Proactive Career Management supports ongoing career-life management activities. 

Collectively these chapters provide important insights about workplace realities, conceptual frameworks to guide the career development process, and helpful activities for practitioners and clients. The six-chapter modularized format enables readers to quickly identify relevant sections. My recommendation for practitioners is to purchase the PDF version so you can easily reproduce handouts for specific clients. 

For more information on annotated references, refer to the following resources:

Concordia University Libraries. (2011). How to prepare an annotated bibliography. Montreal, QC: Author. Available at 

Knott, D. (n.d.).Writing an annotated bibliography. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto. Available at