Ten steps for writing a research paper Part 2

Step 4: Form a preliminary bibliography

A preliminary bibliography is a list of potential sources of information.

Evaluate the potential sources as you go along, keeping in mind how well they relate to your topic, how up-to-date they are and how available they are.

As you select articles and books, record your sources as you go. Using flash cards, Word, sticky notes, etc. is a good method. Later, when you format and complete your final bibliography, you will just arrange this information in alphabetical order.

Step 5: Prepare a Working Outline

This will help give order to your note taking.

Begin by listing the topics you want to discuss in your paper. (You should have a general idea of these from the reading you have already done.) Then, divide the items on the list into major topics and subtopics.

Example:

Thesis- “The Women’s Land Army in Britain further advanced women’s rights in Britain during World War 2 and beyond by expanding the role of women in the work place and teaching them skills they could use to lives independent of men.”

Working outline-

Women’s role in Britain before WW2

  • Role in society
  • Jobs women were allowed to do

Creation of Women’s Land Army

  • Reason
  • Changing lives of the participants

After World War 2

  • New opportunities
  • Women without husbands

Step 6: Start taking notes

After you have gathered your materials and prepare a working outline, you can start to take notes.

Notes should relate in some way to one of the topics on your working outline. Label each section with the appropriate topic; each should also include the title of the source of information. This is very important because you must cite all material even if you have not used the exact words of the text.

Be sure to write the note in your own words; use direct quotes only when the information is worded in a particularly unusual way.