Taking Notes While Composing a Research Paper

Writing a research paper can be the bane of some students’ existences. Depending on your personality, your interest in the subject, and how busy you are with other obligations, paper writing can be really hard. It certainly isn’t more fun than going to that hockey game on the weekend, or visiting your grandmother. But let’s face it: you have to get it written one way or another. There are easier ways to tackle a research paper that you might not know about. If you have to do this anyway, you might as well do it as fast and efficiently as possible to get it over with, right?

Note Taking and Research Papers

So you’re up to your eyeballs in research…how are you going to organize all of it? It can be very overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re doing. Ideally, before you start your research (or if you already have, take a step back and do this) you should make a list. Read your textbook and your teacher’s instructions for this assignment and make a list of what you might need to research. If you don’t know, just think about your topic. If it’s about imperial Russia, for example, what does that time period make you think of? Czars, poverty among lower classes, trains. economic turmoil, etc. Write down a few things so that you have a direction to go when you do get to the library to start researching.

Now you can take that list and expand on each idea you have written down. Take notes as you read, jotting down important facts, quotes you might want to use, book pages and titles, and of course the information you’ll need for the bibliography like author and publication date. Taking notes this way keeps everything in a tidy section and helps you to then use the research in your paper writing process.

Look at these places for some good research opportunities:
  • Libraries, both public and your school’s library
  • Online at websites of organizations, newspapers and governments
  • Directly interview professionals in their fields related to your topic
  • Talk to other students in your class
  • Read related sections in your class textbook
  • Literary journals and history magazines

Finding sources to use and take notes on isn’t rocket science. Even when your subject is about rocket science, doing research about it really isn’t that difficult. Use these ideas and you’ll be well on your way to a great paper.