Research cards or note cards are the way you keep track of the information you gather during the research process. Each note card should represent a single relevant idea, event, or theme that you have discovered in your research. Plan to use multiple note cards for each source. Also be sure to link each note card with bibliographic information for each source. It is especially important that you record corresponding page numbers whenever available.
Options for creating note cards
There are a number of platforms available for you to produce effective research cards:
- Noodle Tools provides an excellent format that includes spaces for bibliographic information, direct quotations, paraphrasing, and your own reflections. See the image below explaining what to write in each section of a Noodle Tools note card:
- Google Docs would give you the advantage of having your information all in a single document (if you choose this path, keep your research cards and your research journal in separate documents). Evernote might be another platform to consider.
- Physical note cards or notebook. Hand-written notes are another option, though do keep in mind that you may be asked to turn these in or make photocopies, which could add additional time or complication.