How are students learning to take notes for research papers?

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Michelle Dion's picture
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Joined: 2009-09-10
Points: 198

When I was in middle school, I learned to take notes for papers on index cards, with author page in one corner and the topic in the other. There was another stack of my bibliography notes. Now, I usually have an outline in my head (and in Word) before I start writing, so I take my notes there. But I know how to exclude or ignore the notes that don't fit and move the ones that need to be moved. Students won't be able to use this method.

I've asked a handful of my recent senior thesis advisees if they learned to use notecards. And, they didn't. Perhaps it's a Canadian thing. I'm curious how students are learning to take notes for research papers these days. Perhaps middle and high schools aren't teaching this anymore?

More importantly, I'd like to know how we are teaching undergrads to take notes and organize them for papers. At the TLC, a couple people said they still require notecards and the bedroom floor method. Someone mentioned Zotero could do this, but I'd like to see a demo/description of how that I could point my students to. 

How do you teach your undergrads to organize their thesis/paper notes? 


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