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Academic Manual on How to Write Note Cards for a Research Paper


When you are writing a research paper, the most grueling part of the paper is matching the research with your paper. There are many strategies to doing research and keeping your thoughts organized, but one of the more popular ones is to use note cards to make sure you keep everything straight. There are some basic things to keep in mind here, but there is a lot you can to do make sure that you are on the road to success. Keep in mind the format of the note cards themselves, using the note cards to do research, and using note cards to help you outline your essay.

The Note Cards

The note cards themselves are very simple, and there are only a couple rules that you need to keep in mind. First, you are going to need quite a lot of them using this method, up to a hundred for a research paper. They can be whatever kind of note card you like size does not really matter. Color does not either, but you might want to color code them if you are creative in that way, either by source or by topic. On each note card, you are going to write any quote or fact that you feel would be useful in your essay. Then you need to add the source you got them from, as well as the page number, as you often need to cite by page.

Doing Research

Doing the research itself is not trivial. You are going to need to think hard about what facts you are going to need. After all, it would be silly to have a thousand note cards! Instead, focus on what is important, and get all the main facts. Sprinkle in a few facts on each topic that are more interesting or specific, you can even choose them on a whim. However, do not go crazy. In addition, you will also need some quotes for each paragraph, so for each topic you want to discuss get between four and six quotes. This will allow you to have several quotes to choose from when the time comes.

Constructing an Outline

When it comes to making an outline for you research, it is actually very simple. All you have to do is list out your topics, which will be each of your paragraphs. Sort the note cards by what topic they pertain to, and any that do not really fit you can use in your introduction or conclusion. Then just string them together, add your own thoughts, and you will find that you are already done!

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