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Research Notes

Organizing research notes is crucial to writing a good paper and avoiding plagiarism. Keep all your print research notes, articles, rough drafts, assignment sheets, etc. in one place such as a binder or folder. Do not mix your research with other class materials. Do the same for electronic resources. Create a folder in your Google Drive and place all electronic materials in that folder. 

Note taking for a research paper requires three components:

  1. The full Bibliographic citation of the book/article/website should be at top of the page/note card. See Bibliographic Citations.  The student can color code sources by using a different color paper/card/font for each source.
  2. Page numbers from the source of the notes in the left margin next to the notes. If you flip a page in the original source, write down the new page number.
  3. Good notes differentiate between paraphrases and quotes. Review Avoiding Plagiarism section. The majority of your notes will be paraphrases. You will only keep a direct quote if the quote is so elegant, powerful and perfect that paraphrasing would contaminate its eloquence. All quotes should be transcribed exactly as written and preceded and followed by quotation marks. Use this template to organize your notes. Sample:

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