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Research Process: A Step-By-Step Guide: Taking notes and Creating Outlines

Taking Notes

Whether by hand or digitally, writing notes on each of your sources can be of great benefit when doing your research.  If you are creating your notes digitally you should keep them in a file separate from your main paper. 


For each source you should include the citation, the type of source (book, journal article, website etc.), and the URL if it is a website. 


When taking notes:


  • Only record the information relevant from your research
  • Save time by using abbreviations and acronyms.
  • Try summarising the author's work in your own words
  • When you are finished taking notes, go back and assign keywords, headings and subheadings 
  • Try grouping your sources together by keywords and sub-topics



Creating an Outline

An outline provides you with a means of organising your information in a logical order. For larger assignments it also provides you keep track of large amounts of information.


To create an outline:

  1. Place your thesis/assignment statement at the beginning
  2. List the major points that support your paper
  3. List the supporting ideas for each point
  4. Continue to subdivide until you have your outline fully developed

How to Structure an Outline

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