On Research

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As I am shoulder deep in researching for my papers this semester, I was wondering how others approach the task of research. I know it will differ depending on the person and the type of paper/article/book being written, but how do you approach the task? Do you make detailed notes as you read and type the whole thing once reading is done or do you type as you go and refine later?

I’m partially interested in this because I’d like to maximize efficiency–if I can get more done in less time without sacrificing quality, that would be super!

I’m interested to know your methods and suggestions.

Αυτω η δοξα,

Jason

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9 thoughts on “On Research

    Nathan Stitt said:
    February 23, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    I always took notes and photocopies as I researched. I would usually write all papers in 1 or 2 sittings at the most. I’ve never typed as I went, though I might have given this a shot if I owned a laptop.

    Jason said:
    February 23, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Nathan: I tend to type as I go, but I find that oftentimes I end up changing a lot of what I initially wrote. I also hate the idea of writing down everything manually then typing it. If only I had a photographic memory… :-)

    Nick Norelli said:
    February 24, 2011 at 6:31 am

    People still write stuff down manually? Get out of here! ;-)

    I read a bunch, remember the important points (sometimes through note taking in the books themselves), and then jot down notes on the computer (lots of bullet points and stuff like that). Then I go and expand on the bullet points.

    Jason said:
    February 24, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Nick: I think my biggest hurdle is I don’t always remember every detail I’d like, especially if I don’t write it down. I am still trying to refine my method just to streamline the process–there’s got to be a more efficient way than what I am doing!

    Matthew Crowe said:
    February 24, 2011 at 9:29 am

    I used Evernote for my most recent paper (though a simple word processor document does the same). My approach was similar to Nick’s, though less reliant on memory: while reading I typed relevant points and details into a note (I had created a notebook for the paper itself with individual notes for each section of the paper). After I read all I could, I sat down one day, read through my notes and wrote the paper.

    Before this paper, I typed as I researched but I think this works better for me. I think in the end the paper was more polished than it would have been had I spent time throughout writing and rewriting (though I still had to do some of that!).

    It’s funny that you post this because I was asking myself the same questions lately.

    Jason said:
    February 24, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Matthew: I think I’ll give Evernote a try–can’t hurt, right? I’ve also downloaded the iPhone app, so maybe that will come in handy. One thing I do is snap pictures of pages from books that I can’t check out of the library (so long as it’s only a page or two I need) so I can have little tidbits of info later.

    My reading and writing will only increase each semester, so I really need to ramp up my efficiency in research.

    v02468 said:
    February 25, 2011 at 10:54 am

    I take a lot of notes as I read in the texts themselves, and I also write down summaries of thoughts afterward in a paper notebook (graph paper). Depending on the depth of the material, I may write some preliminary thoughts on the computer, but generally I start working through the material from my notebook and book notes.

    Bitsy Griffin said:
    February 26, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    I use google notebook (evernote does the same thing) and organize my notes into sections as I go. I take way more notes than I need in case some part of the paper doesn’t come together and then I write. I’m usually able to pull a decent first draft off in a couple of sittings with a third (and hopefully cold) sitting to finalize.

    Another thing I like google notebook for is that I write a works consulted page as I go. If the prof only wants a works cited, then I highlight the ones I use as I use them and it’s ready to copy and paste into the paper. This has been a big time saver for me.

    flint miller said:
    February 28, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    hey jason,
    Looking into your blog, I find the question good about effeciency. I am enrolled at NOBTS this semester taking on class ( so as not to be overwhelmed in the academia world) on Exploring the New Testament. I am sure your reading load is very different from mine, meaning more than me, but let me know your results, I have 2 papers due for the semester. However the reading is managable for now. Praying for you.

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