The research work of students is an effective method of training high-quality new specialists in higher education. It develops creative thinking, individual abilities, student’s research skills. It creates a beneficial environment for the training of initiative specialists, develops scientific intuition, an innovative approach to the perception of knowledge and the practical application of them for solving problems and scientific issues.
A research paper is a huge work which one should conduct, examine, and then analyze in a written form. It is not a short essay where you can keep all the necessary information in your head. For this reason, many scientific supervisors advice students to prepare notes while they’re investigating the topic. However, not all of them know how to write notecards for research paper MLA because this format is the most frequently used. In this article, we will find out the main recommendations about how to write notecards for a research paper in MLA format, and understand how this method can be useful for your work.
Structure the Information in your Mind
When a scholar starts investigating the topic, he or she has to read lots of materials to get some overall information about the theme. They go to the library, take books, journals, download electronic files, and this all accounts for a considerable amount of data to bear in mind. It is no wonder that some people may get confused or even start panicking. The deadline is coming closer, you have read hundreds of pages, but it seems that you cannot remember even one chapter of that information. Moreover, you don’t know how to analyze and synchronize this material not only in black and white but in your head. If you have ever found yourself in a similar state, preparing notecards will be a great way-out.
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MLA Format for Notecards
Although you may prepare your notes in the way you prefer, MLA style will be much more useful because it allows you to be coherent and logical in gathering and differentiating the info. MLA is an acronym from the Modern Language Association. You have probably heard about this style because it is that format which most research papers require. Scholars have made rules for the systematic organization of notes to make it simple for both students and professors to use the gathered materials for organizing the main body of your work.
Now we are going to look closer at what these notes have to contain if you use the MLA style:
- At the left top of the card, you write down the name of a book and its author. You need to write it immediately according to the MLA reference requirements. It will save your time at the end of your work when you get to the final step of preparing a reference list page.
- At the top right you write the number of the sources. It shouldn’t be obligatory following the alphabet because you never know which new information you will find soon. Make that order regarding the process of your research. However, don’t forget to change the numbers in alphabetical order when you prepare a reference list page.
- The middle of the card is devoted to the summarized information which you have found in that source. It is vital to use shortenings because the card shouldn’t be big. Also, you can write short quotations if you are sure that this information will be useful for your research paper.
- At the right bottom of the card jet down the page number. This would help you navigate the information if you needed to add more information or repeat the material in details.
- If you have followed these recommendations, you already have a card formatted in MLA style. It is not that difficult, isn’t it? The challenge is in the amount of these notecards which you may have. As a research paper is a huge paperwork, you will have to make lots of notecards. When you have already prepared enough cards, you don’t have a question about how to write notecards for a research paper MLA. However, you may get confused for another reason: how to structure my notecards, so that I don’t miss any vital information?
How to Organize your Notecards?
At this step, you need to have already several cards which you have prepared according to the mentioned rules above. If you don’t know what to do with them now and how to use them for the paper, let us help you. All you need to do now is prepare the outline of your research work. You have already investigated lots of materials, and you know which chapters can be singled out in your text. First of all, outline with proper headings.
The next step is organizing your notes according to the chapter or subtopic. You can make an ideal place on your table where each side is another meaningful section. Then write down the name of the episode and start looking through your notes. Put each card to that corner of the table which has the name of the most suitable section for this note. In the end, you will have as many groups of cards as the number of chapters.
Now you can begin with the introductory section. Take those selected notes, and put all the other cards aside. It is how you won’t be distracted from the additional amount of information. This method is very efficient and easy to use. You will focus only on one group of cards which you can already use in the text.