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Template for Taking Notes on Research Articles: Easy access for later use

Module by: The Cain Project in Engineering and Professional Communication. E-mail the author

Summary: Author: Janice L. Hewitt, Ph.D.

Use the following format (or something similar—from LaTex or Endnote, for example) to make an electronic record of your notes for later easy access. You may think you’ll remember everything you read, but details will slip away. The time spent filling out the form will help you understand the reading and will save you hours of rereading when you write a Background, Related Work, or a Literature Review section. Put quotation marks around any exact wording you write down so that you can avoid accidental plagiarism when you later cite the article.

Example 1

Complete citation. Author(s), Date of publication, Title (book or article), Journal, Volume #, Issue #, Pages. How you use this information will vary by journal requirements, class requirements, or thesis advisor requirements. Put everything down initially so you’ll have what you later need. Use the Web to access examples of Chicago or APA styles. You can also find examples in a handbook such as Diana Hacker’s A Handbook for Writers (2006). Always be consistent within a document!

If web access: URL; date accessed

Key Words:

General subject:

Specific subject:

Authors’ Hypothesis or Claim:




Summary of key points:

Context and relationships (how this article relates to other work in the field; how it ties in with key issues and findings by others, including yourself):

Significance (to the field; in relation to your own work):

Important Figures and/or Tables (brief description; page number):

Cited References to follow up on: (cite those obviously related to your topic AND any papers frequently cited by others because those works may well prove to be essential as you develop your own work):

Your evaluative comments on the work:

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