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Wednesday, August 3, 2016 Super Awesome Note Taking

For really long research papers, it can be pretty difficult to organize all your notes and ideas. And when you have something like 15-20 sources, things can get pretty hectic. How do you even remember what ideas came from what source? And even then, how do you remember all the ideas that came from all the sources?

The 8th edition of Kate Turabian’s "A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Dissertations, and Theses" suggests that you make a note-taking template. This will definitely change the way you take notes.

  • Start a new page for each source or idea.
  • At the top of each page, leave space and write out the bibliographic information.
  • Underneath the bibliographic information, write out the keywords. This may take a while to figure out, so just make sure you leave space for it.
  • Turabian suggests labeling three areas on your note page: claim, data, and your questions.
  • Create a section that exclusively details your thoughts, including “responses, agreements, disagreements, speculations” (p. 41).
  • When copying quotations or ideas, use a specific color or font so you can recognize the quotations without looking at them too closely.
  • When paraphrasing, use another color or font so as not to oversee an author’s ideas for your own.

These ideas are great for both paper copies of notes and computer copies of notes, and they will help you find your information quickly without you having to search through piles of articles for a specific idea that you read.

Taking notes in advance like this will not only keep you organized, but it will help you sort through information in your head before creating an opinion (if you don’t already have one). It will help you sort information by idea, not just by author (hence the keywords section). It will prepare you to write a holistic paper that includes information from many articles, rather than just quotes that you skimmed over when you were procrastinating to write your paper.

Posted at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)
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