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The Research Process :: Step by Step

Focus on the information in the article that is relevant to your research question (you may be able to skim over other parts). Think critically about what you read and build your argument based on it.

Organize your Notes

  1. After you take notes, re-read them. 
  2. Then re-organize them by putting similar information together. Working with your notes involves re-grouping them by topic instead of by source. Re-group your notes by re-shuffling your index cards or by color-coding or using symbols to code notes in a notebook. 
  3. Review the topics of your newly-grouped notes. If the topics do not answer your research question or support your working thesis directly, you may need to do additional research or re-think your original research. 
  4. During this process you may find that you have taken notes that do not answer your research question or support your working thesis directly. Don't be afraid to throw them away. 

It may have struck you that you just read a lot of "re" words: re-read, re-organize, re-group, re-shuffle, re-think. That's right; working with your notes essentially means going back and reviewing how this "new" information fits with your own thoughts about the topic or issue of the research.

Grouping your notes will enable you to outline the major sections and then the paragraphs of your research paper.

https://www.esc.edu/online-writing-center/resources/research/research-paper-steps/taking-notes/