Taking Notes

As you examine each source, make a separate note of each fact or quotation you might want to use in your paper. Unless you are really good at manipulating text with your computer or laptop, it might be wise to use index cards when preparing notes. Be sure to identify the source of the information on the listing (include the author's name and page number on which the information appears). Try to summarize the information in your own words (paraphrasing); use quotation marks if you copy the information exactly. (This rule should apply whether you are copying a great deal of material or only a phrase.) Give each listing a simple descriptive heading.

note card

Your listings — whether they appear on index cards or within some format on your computer — will now provide the authoritative basis for your paper's content and documentation. By arranging and rearranging the listings and using your descriptive headings, you may well discover a certain order or different categories which will help you prepare an outline. You may find that you need additional information, or that some of the listings may not be appropriate and should be set aside or discarded.