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Organizing Articles for Research

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Offers tips to students while researching to help organize information in order to make the research process easier.

Published in: Education
  • I found Better on ThesisScientist.com on the same Topic
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  • @MKelly107 I forgot to tell you good luck! It can be quite difficult to get the perfect thesis statement crafted. That is the reason that I have SO many resources offered on my page that I have created in hopes of helping students. I hope that one or more help you!
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  • @MKelly107 Yes! I have housed them all on this site: https://sites.google.com/a/palisadessd.org/library/home/thesis-statements
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  • I'm working on a post-graduate research project. I read your deck because I'm always looking for ideas about how to organize my information. Do you have any suggestions for arriving at a thesis statement? This is my biggest gap, also known as "what am I really trying to say in this paper?"
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  • @ukhti Soghir I hope that you find it useful! Feel free to vary the lesson in any way that you need to!
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Organizing Articles for Research

  1. 1. OrganizingResearch by Karen Hornberger. Palisades High School Library
  2. 2. ...So...youarefindingsomegoodarticles!! ...and good books ...and good websites ...and good videos If you are finding many good resources, it looks as if you have picked a good topic that you will have no problem researching! Great Job!
  3. 3. YouarealsoDevelopingaStrongThesisStatement If your thesis statement is enumerative, that means that you have three clear and unique points to support your argument or statement. (the following (insert any statement) is true because of A, B, and C) example: American popular culture greatly influences culture, worldwide, through the production and dissemination of video games, movies, and television shows.
  4. 4. Excitementisintheair! At this point, you are probably happy and feeling like you have it together. You are right, but remember it will REALLY pay off for you if you take some time to slow down and organize your materials from the start and continue along the way. (It will REALLY, REALLY, REALLY pay off!) Please note: if you are unhappy with your thesis statement, here is a resource to help you improve it.
  5. 5. Why???? Trust me, it can be a BIG mess for you if you don’t organize. A lot of researchers cannot remember where they learned pieces of information. As a result, they are likely to produce incorrect citations. Not only is this not ethical, but you can get caught and may have to pay the consequences academically. It will ultimately make you feel bad about your work (which matters!) You want to feel proud of your work and accomplished (and you can!)
  6. 6. How???? I’ve found that there are two ways that people prefer to organize the information that they find and it really boils down to whether the person researching prefers to use electronic methods of working or to work hands-on with actual printouts.
  7. 7. Hands-OnMethod 1. Get three pocket folders and label one Point A, another Point B, and another Point C to identify each major subtopic within the thesis 2. Print out each article, website, or book page(s) that you are using (take notes on any video) for information 3. BE SURE that each printout identifies the source (it doesn’t need to be properly cited here on the printouts) 4. Designate a unique highlighter color for each of the points (Point A in pink highlighter, Point B in green, etc.) 5. Take each print-out (one at a time) and highlight any piece of information using the unique highlighter color that you have designated and ONLY highlight items that support that specific thesis point 6. At a mid-point, assess whether you have enough information to support each thesis point and seek additional information if you need to
  8. 8. Hands-OnMethod,Cont. Example: My point A is that American video games have a global influence. Within any article that I see that concept supported, I will highlight the passages in pink (which is the color that I have selected for Point A). Note: If I notice that the same article also supports a different thesis point (maybe it also speaks of how American television has a global influence, which is my Point C), then I print another copy of the article out and highlight with the appropriate highlighter color that I have chosen for Point C (orange) and place that orange highlighted article into the folder that is set for the associated thesis point (Point C). So, yes, I will have two printouts of the same exact article - one highlighted in pink and placed in one folder (which only has items highlighted in pink and discusses video games’ influence upon the world) and one highlighted in orange (and placed in a folder which only has information highlighted in orange and discusses television’s influence upon the world). Makes sense?
  9. 9. Electronic Method#1(GoogleDrive) Within Google Drive, you can organize your research notes using this system. 1. Create a folder in Drive to house your project notes. 2. Within that folder, create a folder for each subtopic. If you want to keep the folders arranged in the proper order, put a letter at the beginning of the title (my first folder would be titled A: videogame culture; my second folder would be B: movie culture...). 3. Every time you take notes on research, save those notes to the appropriate folder. Similar to the Hands-On Method, you will create different notes on research for each area of your outline, even if it is from the same resource.
  10. 10. Electronic Method#1(GoogleDrive),Cont. Example: My point A is that American video games have a global influence. Within any article that I see that concept supported, I will take notes on the information for ONLY Point A and save this document into the folder that I have set up for Point A. Note: If I notice that the same article also supports a different thesis point (maybe it also speaks of how American television has a global influence, which is my Point C), then I create another note taking document for ONLY Point C and place this document into the appropriate folder that is set for the associated thesis point (Point C). So, yes, I will have two documents from the same exact article but I have the information isolated into different documents to help me focus only on the concepts that I will focus upon while writing that portion of my paper. Makes sense?
  11. 11. Electronic Method#1(GoogleDrive),cont. 1. Next, create a Google Doc within each folder and call it Outline to Text (or whatever you’d like!) 2. On this Doc, insert a side-by-side table which has multiple rows. Within one column, you will insert only the portion of your outline that supports the subtopic that your folder supports. For instance, if I have my Point A folder open (Video Games’ Global Influence) then I only have that section of my outline copied into this document. 3. Next to each section of outline, you will insert the expert information that you have summarized, paraphrased or quoted in your research notes and you will arrange them, accordingly. Select a color that you will use to identify that this is expert information.
  12. 12. Electronic Method#1(GoogleDrive),cont. 4. Be sure that every portion of expert information also identifies the source that it comes from. 5. Following every excerpt from an expert, follow up with your own analysis in a different text color. 6. Essentially, you should be able to match the information that supports each of your points, put them into the order you designated in the outline, add your own analysis (to help connect it to your thesis), and move on to the next main point within your paper.
  13. 13. Electronic Method#2(Noodletools) Our school subscribes to Noodletools, which offers great resources to organize your outline and notecards. 1. In Noodletools, cite every source AS SOON as you determine it useful. 2. Go into Notecards and enter headings into the outline to mirror the main points within your thesis statement (and eventually fill out your outline in its entirety) 3. As you work with articles, create notecards (from one source at a time). 4. Drag those notecards into the appropriate area of the outline that the information supports. 5. At a mid-way point during your research project, assess if you have enough information to support each thesis point.
  14. 14. DraftTime! While constructing your first draft, you now have all of your information arranged perfectly. The time that you took to organize your work will help the rough draft flow out easier. It paid off! You can pull out that Point A folder or open all of those notes that you have saved for Point A. If they were saved electronically, you can just copy and paste to arrange them in the rational order that you set within your outline. If you chose Hands-On, then you must type them into a document and put them into a rational order for your reader (most likely as you have identified within your outline). Don’t forget to tie the ideas that you have gathered from the experts with your own ideas and thoughts (this is vital! While expert opinion is required for research, it is also very important that you recognize your job of making that expert opinion support your personal topic (the thesis statement you personally designed) and connect information that you found together with your ideas to make it your own. Follow with Points B and C. Then work on a strong opening and closing.
  15. 15. Writer’sBlock? SO many times (like SO SO SO many times) I hear students comment that they are having trouble writing. I am a huge believer that it is best to organize and draft the main body of the paper before you worry about how to open and close the paper with an opening and conclusion. It can be difficult to do right; if you have the stress lessened by having your paper written, you will be able to consider a few opening hooks without that panicky, awful feeling inside of you. However, a good hook is extremely important and you want to give it the time and attention it deserves. Remember to connect the people who are reading your paper to the topic and get them to truly care about what you will talk about.
  16. 16. GOODLUCK! Enjoy your research and make it count! If you are having trouble expanding upon the quotations that you are selecting, my slideshow, Expanding upon Quotations may help you. Learn some things that are worth sharing with the world!

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