Writing a report requires an organized preparation of the necessary documents and back-up data. Since a research paper is a highly academic writing that entails thorough research of the topic involved, it should be written with the utmost groundwork that will support the content of the document. Research paper notes are imperative in the early stage of working on a research paper—without them, the time-consuming research work will be of no use. Research paper notes serve as reminders for the student to include valuable information and data when writing the content of his or her report. They should be well-written, detailed, accurate, clear and easy to understand.
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Research paper notes are written in a specific format, and are different from the normal note-taking process of a student when listening to lectures in class. The latter does not require a specific format, and can be done in any manner that the student prefers—as long as it includes the major points from the teacher’s lecture, and is comprehensible for the student to review come exams and quizzes.
On the other hand, research paper notes should be complete with the research and significant points. It should also be written in a different manner compared to the source, paraphrased or quoted with references that support the statement. References should include the name of the author, the title and the page number. It is important to have these all completed in the note so that the student can go back to that particular source later on as necessary.
When taking down research paper notes, it is beneficial to consider using an electronic device such as a computer to save all pertinent documents for later. Electronic copies are safer, as they are not easily lost or damages. Keeping back-up copies of the document will also be advantageous in case your computer crashes and all files are lost. Additionally, writing notes for a research paper will be the basis of the paper itself, so it is important to keep them in places where it is easy to find and search through them. In consequence, it will be easier to create the outline of a research paper when the notes are already encoded in the computer.
While there is no right or wrong choice of references and information to include in research paper notes, it is wise to choose only the vital information and leave marks or highlights on content that can be referenced later on. This way, the process of writing the whole document does not take too much time.