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Research 101: Take Notes

A guide to help you develop good research skills!

Tips for taking notes by hand

First, use index cards to keep notes and
   track sources used in your paper.

Then, create
   Work Cited cards for each source.

  • Include citations in MLA format
         (author, title, publisher, date,
         page number, etc.)
  • Organize sources alphabetically.
  • Number your source cards.

Next, for each note card:
     On one side:

  • Record single idea, fact, or quote,
         which helps with organization

     On other side:

  • Write key words at top, 
  • List Work Cited source number.
  • Include page number from source.

Finally, while taking notes, remember to:

  • Use abbreviations, acronyms, or
         incomplete sentences to speed
         up the note taking process.
  • Only record information that
         answer research questions.
  • Use symbols, diagrams, charts or
         drawings to simplify & visualize

Forms of notetaking

Use one of these notetaking forms to capture information:

  • Summarize:
         Capture the main ideas of the source succinctly by restating them in your own words.
  • Paraphrase:
         Restate the author's ideas in your own words.
  • Quote:
         Copy the quotation exactly as it appears in the original source. Put quotation marks
         around the text and note the name of the person you are quoting.

Tips for Taking Notes Electronically

First, create a Work Cited document
   for the sources you use.

  • Add your sources in MLA format.
  • Group sources by publication type
         (i.e., book, article, website).
  • Number your sources.
  • For websites, include the URL.

Then, in your notes, place source
   numbers from your Work Cited list
   & the source's page number next to
   your ideas. See examples below.
       (Note #A5 and #B2 refer to article
       source 5 and book source 2 from the
       Work Cited file.

  • #A5 p.35: "first idea"
  • #B2 p.76: "second idea"

After taking notes,
   assign keywords or sub-topic headings
   to each idea, quote, or summary.

Finally copy and paste to group 
   keywords or sub-topic ideas together.

Remember to back up your master list and note files frequently!