Research Paper – Bibliography & Note Cards

As part of the research process, you will keep a working annotated bibliography. This means that for every source that you have evaluated as being possibly good and considering using in your paper needs to be listed in a single document with the correct documentation format and notes about the value of the information in it.

You will likely use a number of sources that may not in fact be cited directly in your paper when the final draft is submitted. However, those uncited sources may have been instrumental for one reason or another during the process. For instance, you may have used some websites or general encyclopedias that were helpful in getting some preliminary background information. You should include it in your bibliography. Or you may have found an article that leads you to some other resources that were even more valuable. Add the original source to your bibliography with notes explaining this.

Here is an example of an Annotated Bibliography.

Note Cards
During the development of your research paper you will produce a number of note cards. Essentially, note cards are the evidence that you are gathering from your various sources that will support your thesis and the ideas put forth in your paper. You will need a variety of note cards from each source, and you should have at least one of each type of note card for every source you think you will use.

Types of Note Cards:

Summary – a brief statement that presents the main points in a concise form
Paraphrase – expressing the same message in different words
Direct Quote – a short note recognizing a source of information

Careful not to confuse summary and paraphrasing, they are not the same. A summary essentially condenses information, trying to capture only the essence of what is said. With paraphrasing you do not condense or cut down the material, you simply are rewording the same information. You have the most experience with direct quotations, so those should be no problem.

Here is a template that you can use with MS Word to generate note cards and print them.

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March 2007
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Freshmen English

This college preparatory class concentrates thematically on the notion of growth through experience. All the major works in this course have been chosen to illuminate this idea in some fashion. Your analysis of the work will be concerned with exploring this primary theme, as well as additional themes and related questions. In addition, the class will always be concerned with the following overarching questions:

From whose viewpoint and from what angle or perspective are we reading?

How do we know when we know? What is the evidence and how reliable is it?

How are things, events, or people connected to each other?

What is the cause and what is the effect? How do they fit together?

What’s new and what’s old? Have we run across this idea?

So what? What does it matter? What does it all mean?


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