General Rules for Note Cards 1
1. Put only one idea from one source on a note card. Even though you may have only a few words on a card, do not put more than one idea from one source on a card.
2. Use ink. Pencil smears.
3. Write only on one side of the card. If you absolutely cannot complete a note on one side of the card (as in a long quotation for instance), write “continued” or “more” on the first card to remind you to look for the second.
4. Identify the source. On every note card identify the number of the source from which the note comes. Write that number in the upper right corner of every note card taken from that source, and circle that number to distinguish it from the page number.
5. Identify the page number. On every note card identify the page number from which the note comes. Write it in the upper right corner after the source number.
6. Identify the topic. On every note card identify the topic by a word or two. Reading this topic word will help keep you from rereading the entire note card later to decide where it fits in the paper.
7. Take adequate notes. It is better to have too many notes than too few.
8. Think before you write. Before you take a note, ask yourself three questions:
- How will this information help me to support my thesis?
- What is this material really saying?
- How can I use this in my paper?
9. Add notes to yourself. As you gather information on your note cards, you may want to make parenthetical notes to yourself about the contents. For example, you may add “information contradicts opposition,” “may need more support,” or “use for final argument.”1. Adapted from The Research Paper: A Contemporary Approach by Sharon Sorenson