Notecards For Research Paper

He calls the comments the “fastwrite response.” I like the idea but cannot see that my students would have that much to say about each of their notes.It also does not solve the wasted-energy problem, as hand writing the notes would be the easiest way to work with the columns unless students did some slick work with tables in Word (something I find unlikely that my students would do well).

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The problem was not that much better when reading books or paper sources—again I was copying something by hand only to have to type it later.

Acutely aware of this, I searched the web during graduate school for a program that would allow me to skip the pen work.

I experimented with note programs, Google Notes, text boxes in Word, and online bookmarks, but was not happy with any of them until I stumbled upon Zotero.

I have praised Zotero before, but the heart of my praise is that the program mimics the note card method.

I champion this process—in particular the use of note cards—because I see it as a scalable method of note taking that allows students to manipulate information from sources in ways outside the organization of the original articles.

A few years ago I heard a colleague question the use of note cards, wondering whether it was just a time-honored thing that we do simply because it was done to us.They could see the importance of tracking the source, of categorizing information, and separating notes into bites, and if they could apply those methods to an improvised version, then so be it. That was my argument, and I am still fairly convinced of it.On my desk is a student’s outline and in the first paragraph she plans to cite three different sources.He describes two methods, neither one involving note cards.In fact, he described note cards in the first edition of the book but refused to include them in the second edition, admitting that in good conscience, I can’t do it anymore.We have just finished note cards—well, some of us have just finished our note cards—and we are constructing the outline before writing the first draft.It’s a familiar process and I have been a champion of it for many years. After all, how can you give something to someone that is not yours to give?I think of this today because my sophomores are in the midst of their research papers.His first method was a take on the Cornell note taking method, or double-entry journal.With it, students write on the left side notes from their source and on the right side comments on those notes.


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