I think the process or sorting articles is one that changes with different tasks and also persons so you are best of taking some advice from others and looking into it. Hopefully you also have peers around who can provide their insights. In the end you will develop your own set of tools that suit your needs and to keep trying different ones at an early stage, and discarding many of them, is far better than trying to do it later when the mass of information is much larger.
Another option is to simply start using something and sticking with it regardless of weaknesses. The bottom line is that with experience you will rely less and less on note-taking and be more efficient at seeing structure in what you read and so keeping a reference database is the main tool you will use.
Even if this may not sound very constructive, I also say that the time you spend now on testing different solutions will pay back later, putting it off is only pushing problems forward. A final personal note. If you want a free, platform independent, and completely versatile way to author documents you should look into LaTeX-writing for example through TeX.
I recommend it to everyone unless you are in a complete Word-environment, being alone with a different system can be hard. You should nevertheless look into it. I used to use a journal to keep track of my readings as I could take the journal to the library with me.
If I were doing a similar thing today, I'd use a wiki to keep track of my notes and research as that would let me re-organize things as needed, host PDFs of the journal articles when available and allow for searching. I'm a first year myself, so I can't say "this works" so much as "this is what I'm trying" I electronically highlight and comment my papers in the program Xournal. I used to then organize them somewhat in a program called Zotero in some ways similar to the Mendeley mentioned above I believe.
However, I recently stopped using Zotero because it was an additional hassle. So currently I just mark up papers in Xournal and then organize them into different directories within my Dropbox account. I'm happy with this, and have been doing it for about 4 years now. Questions Tags Users Badges Unanswered. How to organize my papers and notes from the beginning of my PhD? This question already has an answer here: Focus on a limited aspect, e.
Obtain teacher approval for your topic before embarking on a full-scale research. If you are uncertain as to what is expected of you in completing the assignment or project, re-read your assignment sheet carefully or ASK your teacher. Select a subject you can manage. Avoid subjects that are too technical, learned, or specialized. Avoid topics that have only a very narrow range of source materials. For general or background information, check out useful URLs , general information online , almanacs or encyclopedias online such as Britannica.
Use search engines and other search tools as a starting point. Pay attention to domain name extensions, e. These sites represent institutions and tend to be more reliable, but be watchful of possible political bias in some government sites. Network Solutions provides a link where you can find out what some of the other extensions stand for. Be wary of the millions of personal home pages on the Net.
The quality of these personal homepages vary greatly. Learning how to evaluate websites critically and to search effectively on the Internet can help you eliminate irrelevant sites and waste less of your time. The recent arrival of a variety of domain name extensions such as. Many of the new extensions have no registration restrictions and are available to anyone who wishes to register a distinct domain name that has not already been taken. For instance, if Books.
Check out online resources, Web based information services, or special resource materials on CDs:. Check out public and university libraries, businesses, government agencies, as well as contact knowledgeable people in your community. Bookmark your favorite Internet sites. Printout, photocopy, and take notes of relevant information. As you gather your resources, jot down full bibliographical information author, title, place of publication, publisher, date of publication, page numbers, URLs, creation or modification dates on Web pages, and your date of access on your work sheet, printout, or enter the information on your laptop or desktop computer for later retrieval.
If printing from the Internet, it is wise to set up the browser to print the URL and date of access for every page. Remember that an article without bibliographical information is useless since you cannot cite its source. Most research papers normally require a thesis statement. If you are not sure, ask your teacher whether your paper requires it. A thesis statement is a main idea, a central point of your research paper. The arguments you provide in your paper should be based on this cenral idea, that is why it is so important.
Do some critical thinking and write your thesis statement down in one sentence. Your research paper thesis statement is like a declaration of your belief. The main portion of your essay will consist of arguments to support and defend this belief. It is impossible to create a thesis statement immediately when you have just started fulfilling your assignment. Before you write a thesis statement, you should collect, organize and analyze materials and your ideas.
You cannot make a finally formulated statement before you have completed your reseach paper. It will naturally change while you develop your ideas. Stay away from generic and too fuzzy statements and arguments.
Use a particular subject. The paper should present something new to the audience to make it interesting and educative to read. Avoid citing other authors in this section. Present your own ideas in your own words instead of simply copying from other writers. If you have time and opportunity, show it to your instructor to revise.
Otherwise, you may estimate it yourself. A well-prepared thesis means well-shaped ideas. It increases credibility of the paper and makes good impression about its author. More helpful hints about Writing a Research Paper. An informal outline working outline is a tool helping an author put down and organize their ideas.
It is subject to revision, addition and canceling, without paying much attention to form. In a formal outline, numbers and letters are used to arrange topics and subtopics. The letters and numbers of the same kind should be placed directly under one another.
The topics denoted by their headings and subheadings should be grouped in a logical order. All points of a research paper outline must relate to the same major topic that you first mentioned in your capital Roman numeral. The purpose of an outline is to help you think through your topic carefully and organize it logically before you start writing.
A good outline is the most important step in writing a good paper. Check your outline to make sure that the points covered flow logically from one to the other. Make the first outline tentative. What is the chief reason you are writing the paper? State also how you plan to approach your topic. Is this a factual report, a book review, a comparison, or an analysis of a problem? Explain briefly the major points you plan to cover in your paper and why readers should be interested in your topic.
BODY — This is where you present your arguments to support your thesis statement. Remember the Rule of 3, i. Begin with a strong argument, then use a stronger one, and end with the strongest argument for your final point. Explain why you have come to this particular conclusion. Organize all the information you have gathered according to your outline. Critically analyze your research data.
Using the best available sources, check for accuracy and verify that the information is factual, up-to-date, and correct. Opposing views should also be noted if they help to support your thesis. This is the most important stage in writing a research paper. Here you will analyze, synthesize, sort, and digest the information you have gathered and hopefully learn something about your topic which is the real purpose of doing a research paper in the first place.
You must also be able to effectively communicate your thoughts, ideas, insights, and research findings to others through written words as in a report, an essay, a research or term paper, or through spoken words as in an oral or multimedia presentation with audio-visual aids.
Do not include any information that is not relevant to your topic, and do not include information that you do not understand. Make sure the information that you have noted is carefully recorded and in your own words, if possible. Plagiarism is definitely out of the question.
Document all ideas borrowed or quotes used very accurately. As you organize your notes, jot down detailed bibliographical information for each cited paragraph and have it ready to transfer to your Works Cited page.
Just as every paper requires a thesis to assert and control its argument, so does every paragraph require a topic sentence to assert and control its main idea. Without a topic sentence, your paragraphs will seem jumbled, aimless. Your .
Instead, organizing your paper will give you a sense of control and allow you to better integrate your ideas as you start to write. Categorize Organizing your paper can be a daunting task if you begin too late, so organizing a paper should take place during the reading and note-taking process.
Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Making an Outline The purpose of this guide is to provide advice on how to develop and organize a research paper in the social sciences. Purpose of Guide. Learn how to organize your research with coded notes. This technique works for all research projects, from high school papers to dissertations.
Research Paper Organization. My Home Page English Syllabus (DOC) Davis Oldham FOSS The Research paper focuses on your own thesis, and uses the sources as needed to provide support for the thesis. A good rule of thumb: Most paragraphs in the Research paper should cite more than one source. If your paper . If you are very visual, you can use images in the form of "text boxes" to organize and outline an essay or big research paper. The first step in this method of organizing your work is to pour your thoughts onto paper in several text boxes.