Day 83: How to take notes for research

Today, with the shortened schedule and technology taken up by other classes, we had to change our plans a bit. Instead of continuing independent research on their cause, students worked together to take research notes on one student’s topic. My goal was to make clear to students how to take notes without risking plagiarism.

1. We went to a student’s GoogleDoc for taking notes. (Click on the hyperlink if you don’t have yours set up yet).

  • To set up your own GoogleDoc for notes, click on the above hyperlink.
  • Then, click Sign In, in the upper right-hand corner.
  • Then, go to File > Make a Copy.
  • Then rename the file by clicking on its current name, found to the right of the GoogleDocs icon. Rename it “Period Lastname Firstname Research,” for example “3 Doe John Research.”
  • Finally, go to Share > Invite People > and type in my email,

2. We accessed the SIRS database.

  • Enter the generic school username and password that I gave you in class and click “My Products Page.”
  • Then click on “SIRS Knowledge Source” at the bottom of the page.

3. We searched for articles. Search by keyword to find information on your topic. Before researching, it’s important for students to have an idea of what kind of information they’re looking for. Statistics, anecdotes, and general background information will help you establish credibility, or ethos.

4. We copied the MLA citation information. When you find an article that you want to you, go to “Citation” on the right side of the screen, and then copy and paste the citation information into the top box of your GoogleDoc. Then you can take notes in the bottom box.

5. We took notes in bullet-point format. DO NOT TAKE NOTES BY COPYING AND PASTING INFORMATION. You will be more likely to commit plagiarism, which is a serious offense. In high school, it can get you suspended and in college it can get you expelled. If you use the same phrases as your article without putting those phrases in quotes, it is plagiarism. SO, YOU SHOULD TAKE NOTES IN YOUR OWN WORDS, and NOT IN COMPLETE SENTENCES.

HW: Optional — if you want your own copy of To Kill a Mockingbird or Other Voices, Other Rooms, buy it this weekend. We will start reading on Monday.