Creating a research paper: how to organize your notes

Doing research for your topic may be considered one of the easiest parts of writing a research paper. You can think about your topic and collect relative data that will help support your main idea or argument. Once this is done you have the task of organizing your findings so you can create a quality paper. The problem here is many students find it frustrating to understand how to organize their findings, especially if they took poor notes or didn’t collect enough information. The good news is there are a few options to consider that may make it easier for you to organize your notes.


Use Note Cards

You can use note cards to write down your findings on and then place your cards in order. In doing this you can number or alphabetize your cards to help you reference them easier. There may be a few different ways to do this but once you understand your options it may make things easier when you begin writing your paper. Use note cards that allow you to write enough information you can refer back to when it is time to start putting your cards in order. They can be grouped together in smaller batches depending on the content, and in turn help you write paragraphs for each set.


Make an Outline

An outline can make it easier for you to organize your notes at the same time as you write them. An outline is a basic structure of the research paper that is broken into sections. For instance, you may have a piece of notebook paper and then have categories listed with space between each as you go down the page. The categories may be the parts of your research paper you need to do research for such as the introduction, conclusion, body paragraphs for evidence, abstract, and other parts necessary. As you come across information you want to mention in your paper you can write it down underneath the category title. Each title would be in order as it appears on final research paper so your data would be organized at the same time as you find what you are looking for.


Understand Logic Order of Presentation

Overall, when you understand your topic and how you want the audience to learn about related evidence, the order of the content will be evident as long as you collect enough information to write sufficient content.