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Organizing and Writing Your Research

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As you conduct research for your NHDI project, it is crucial that you have a good note-taking system and keep track of your sources.

A good note-taking system will later help you to organize your project as well as write the text for your project. Keeping track of your sources will ensure that you have everything you need for your bibliography and citations and keep you from accidentally plagiarizing others’ work.

See the drop-down sections for suggestions on note-taking and sources.

Below are additional resources that might prove helpful as you work to organize and write your research:

Source Organization Guide

Active vs. Passive Voice Worksheet

Verb Tenses Worksheet

Note Taking

As you gather and analyze your sources, it is important to have a good note-taking system. You are getting a lot of information. You will synthesize – combine into a whole – the information you think is the most important from all of your sources to create the content for your project.

The note-taking system you use is up to you – one is the Cornell Notes system. This breaks up your note-taking into two parts: the main ideas and more general notes. As you are taking notes, it is important to keep track of the sources from which you get your information. This will not only help you with your annotated bibliography – so you have a record of how you used each source – but with citing quotes and other information in your project as well.

Step 1: Include your topic, if so desired. Consider the sort of information you will be looking for.

Step 2: Take some general notes as you read your sources. Keep the notes for each portion of your project separate. For each note, write the source and page number.

Step 3: Write down all bibliographic information for your sources used in this section.

Step 4: Write a summary right after you read the source and pull out the main ideas. This is a short overview of what you have learned.

Step 5: Reflect after you have finished reading the source. Write down main ideas, people, vocabulary words or questions. What struck you as most important?

Bibliography and Citation

Regardless of what type of project you are doing, you will have to do research on your topic. Later, you will want to share that research with your judges to show what you have learned and to help support your thesis. However, it is important that you also cite all of the research that you did. Not only will your judges look to see if you have any citations, but it also helps you avoid any plagiarism.  

Every project must include an annotated bibliography. For your annotated bibliography, you will use either MLA or Chicago Manual of Style. Check with your teacher to see which they prefer. Regardless of which you use, make sure it is consistent with every source.

There are three important parts to the annotated bibliography. For each source you must include:

  • The source information of every source you use, even if it is an image, audio clip or interview
  • Whether it is a primary or secondary source
  • How you used your source and how it was helpful to your research

 Need more information? Check out the links below for useful resources in writing your annotated bibliography!

Bibliography and In-Text Citation Guide *Coming Soon*

Chicago Citation Table *Coming Soon*

MLA Citation Guide *Coming Soon*

MLA Citation Table *Coming Soon*

Avoiding Plagiarism Worksheet *Coming Soon*

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