Taking notes is an important part of gathering information for the research paper Since the entire contents of a book or an article will not be useful for you paper you must select and record only pertinent information

One way to take notes is to use 3 x 5 or 4 x 6 cards. Like bibliography cards, note cards are easy to carry and to arrange. In addition, they help you to keep your notes brief and to the point.

• Include only one topic on a card.

• Give each card a heading/topic that refers to a category of information. Center this heading/topic at the top of the note card.

• In most cases, summarize or paraphrase; that is, put in your own words what you have read. Occasionally, you may consider it important to quote the author. When you do quote, be sure you quote exactly.

• Enclose in quotation marks all statements which are in the author's words. If you omit words from the quotation, indicate that you have done so by inserting an ellipsis (three spaced periods) in their place. See The Ellipsis Mark.

• Use parenthetical documentation to cite your source after you have quoted or paraphrased from it.

• Try to show in your notes when the author is stating facts and when he is stating opinion.

• Record the source number in the upper right-hand corner of each card, since the source must later be documented in your paper. Use the numbering system described above in Preparing a Working Bibliography.

Other ways of note-taking exist. You may create a note-taking system directly on photocopies and hard copies from computerized resources where downloading of material is permitted. You can also create your own computer files for your information. The important thing is to be sure you work systematically and that you identify all the pertinent information-author, title, and page numbers-just as you would on note cards. Furthermore, you must still organize and then transform the material into your own words when you write your draft.

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