Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Successful Research: Note Taking

Brainstorming ideas and outlining are strategies that can help in organizing a paper. But how do you even get there in the first place? When reviewing multiple sources for a paper of any kind, taking careful, detailed notes will not only help you find the support that you’ll need in your paper, but also help with the organization of a draft. Here are a few helpful ideas on note taking when dealing with source material.

How Do You Take Notes From a Text You Can’t Write On?

- Sticky notes: Sticky notes can help mark useful passages that you want to later reference in your paper. Along with marking a particular point within the book, writing a word or phrase on sticky notes can help you connect and summarize the points that are important. I don’t want to spend actual money on sticky notes so I use small pieces of paper to mark the spot in a book. See, you don’t have to buy them if you don’t want to!

- Taking notes on paper: It’s helpful to take detailed notes of main points that you might later use when drafting your paper. If you’re not a detailed note taker, then just writing a page number on paper or a particular quote will help jog your memory.

- Note cards: Jotting down quotes and main ideas along with the reference information on notecards can make ideas easier to locate when drafting a paper. This way, the information is all in one place, and can even be useful when deciding how to organize the ideas for a draft. Note cards allow you to visually shuffle information.

Taking Notes On Printed Sources

- Highlighting and underlining: Highlighting and underlining can help you reference particular words or phrases that you plan to expand upon in a draft. Making notes in the margins will make it easier for you to pick out points that you want to use in your paper. These notes can later become points that you want to make in your paper.

Starting the search for sources early can only benefit your paper in the end because you’ll have time to effectively take notes. Though the process can take more time, making sure that you pick out points within research to support your ideas will only help when beginning to draft your paper.

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