Documentation during Prewriting

When you use information from research in a paper, notecard system.

Whichever system you choose you will need to record 2 things:

  1. Information about each Source: As soon as you begin looking at a source that you think will be useful for your paper take down information about that source. This is the information you will need for your bibliography also called a reference list or list of works cited.
    The citation builder at the University of North Carolina Writing Center will help you get all the information you need depending on what form your source takes.
  2. Ideas and Information: As you take notes from your sources it is important to process the ideas and pull out single ideas that are important to your topic and within the scope of your project.
    The most common error in note taking is copying all of the ideas from an article or web page and writing down much of it in the authors words. When your tired this can turn into mindless copying and leave you a mess to sort through during your organizing and drafting steps.

Think about what you are reading, determine whether it’s useful and credible, and then put it in your own words.

Read more about how to paraphrase at the University of Wisconsin Writing Center.

Always mark words and even short phrases that come from your source with quotation marks.

Record the page number or webpage section for every idea whether it’s quoted or paraphrased.