Dr. Patrick Ryan

Annotated Bibliography Instructions

CYS 3313G - Annotated Bibliography - Due February 8, 2024 (15%)

Following the criteria given below produce a 10-source annotated bibliography for your topic of interest.

An annotated bibliography is a list of sources with notations that explain why the citation was included in the bibliography and provides details about the contents of the source.

For example: 

Wilson, Jeffrey. The Law's Treatment of Youth and Children. LexisNexis Canada, 2011.


This is a textbook written for those entering legal practices in the areas of family law, youth justice, or child protection. It has a critical edge missing from similar books written in a formalist legal tradition. Wilson is openly critical of 'the best interest' of the child principle in Canada and comes close to arguing that it is a kind of anti-law. The style is quirky, and it's not quite right for CYS students, but it is packed with information, long footnotes, and comes off like a rough draft from a legal scholar with decades of immersion. I can use it as a reference source while conducting legal research and as a small window on matters of concern for family law practitioners. The focus is on Ontario, but not exclusively. There is too little on children's or youth’s negative rights to participation or self-determination. For example, the legal dimension to the movements for youth's rights to vote or for student rights to expression are not dealt with. But the parts on contract law were new to me. Though it focuses on traditional areas, it is more child-centric and reflective about children's subjectivity than what we find in Zuker et al.


Zuker, Marvin A, Sheila C. Mackinnon, and Brock Jones. Children's Law Handbook - Fourth Edition. Thomson Reuters, 2019. 


This is an encyclopedic guide to legislation and case law.  It can be used to ensure my interpretations of particular cases are sound, and for locating related cases and examples for fleshing out the general legal significance of individual cases.  Should read this inside-out, rather than cover to cover.


The purpose of this assignment is to build a reading list that you will use in your literature review. This list will reappear revised with your final research proposal. All sources that you propose in this bibliography must be 'approved' by the instructor before they can be included in your critical literature review. So, part of the challenge is to assemble a bibliography that fits the criteria laid out below. 

There are three requirements for the annotated bibliographies in this course:

1) FORM: Your annotated bibliographies will use the Turabian/Chicago guide for the bibliography.  The quick guide provides the form for bibliographic entries, as well as for notes which we prefer.  Never use parathetical references in work for me. :)

2) NUMBERS OF SOURCES: Your annotated bibliographies will list ten peer-reviewed articles or academic book chapters. A scholarly book can be used to replace an article, but only on a 1-1 basis.  

3) CONTENT: Every work on your bibliography must meet two criteria: (a) it must deal with the topic you are interested in studying; (b) it must help us read childhood as discourse in that area of interest. The text-discourse relationship must be at the center of the analytic effort. We define the text-discourse relationship in childhood studies in the first weeks of the course.

Any piece of research that helps us 'read childhood as discourse' qualifies. This includes many areas of research that may not emphasize the term discourse or discourse analysis. So simply plugging in 'discourse' into Omni with your topic phrase may be a place to start, but it is not enough. Studies that examine the arts (films, books, music), consumer or peer cultures (clothing, recreation, social media, advertising) usually help us interprete texts in terms of larger discursive structures. The same applies to studies that use ethnographic or historical approaches to make sense of institutional practices, policy formation, or law.  

For example, if your topic deals with the medical decision-making by children, you would probably want to consider making Myra Bluebond-Langner's The Private Worlds of Dying Children (1978) part of your reading list. This work qualifies because it is a study that uses ethnographic methods to interpret conversations and to reconstruct the life worlds (culture) of children who were dying of pediatric leukema about fifty years ago. Bluebond-Langner operated within the methods of symbolic interactionism and institutional ethnography. And therefore the work helps us understand the performance of childhood and the meanings associated with and produced by dying children. 

A NOTE ON EXCLUSIONS: A single work can use both discursive and non-discursive methods. But works that only use non-discursive approaches would not be helpful in a literature review for a new researcher who is learning to apply the tools of discourse analysis. To be directive: 'objective' research associated with mental health (or other branches of the medical model) are excluded. Pediatrics, developmental psychology, and demographics are powerful research traditions, but they are outside the paradigm of discourse analytics. We exclude policy analyses that construct or use statistical indices of efficency or 'best practices.' This dictate excludes statistically grounded sociology and social work or educational research claiming to identify 'what works.'

Participatory action research (PAR) and research with children and youth is often unhelpful for the analysis of the text-discourse relationship. These projects rarely examine what children say and do in terms of the discursive structures that make their performances of childhood possible. Typically, they are too indebted to the discourse of the authentic child. When they escape their own romanticism, it is because they cross over into 'ethnography' or 'cultural analysis.' Then they join discourse analysis. When participatory research with children submits children's acts and words as unvarnished authority on childhood, it has little to contribute analytically to the study of discourse. Conversely, discourse analysis excludes works that reduce language to reinforcement signals (socialization theory).

There are a wide range of interesting intellectual traditions that attempt to get around the text-discourse relationship by theorizing a pre-discursive 'anchor point' (competent agency, classical and operant conditioning, the unconscious, authentic experiential truth, natural selection, statistical description, base class or gender conflict, the will of God, somatic function, homeostatic equalibirium, etc. etc). Whatever their differences, these anchor-points displace the text-discourse relationship from the analysis or make it epiphenomenal (widow-dressing) for looking out onto the so-called 'real' world. Thus, they are not only outside of discourse analysis, they annul it. They don't belong in this course.