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I Need Help Saving and Organizing What I've Found

Develop a System to Track and Manage Information

  • Research projects require time management and organization--Developing a plan or system that works for you can help save you time and anxiety.
  • A system can be simple or more complex depending on the size of the research project. Some students prefer organizing everything electronically while others like to print materials out.
    • Simple system
      • An example of a simple approach might involve opening a Word document or Google Doc and then copying and pasting citation information for each source you find and taking notes on your research.
      • It might also involve saving the research articles and other source information you find to the same folder on your computer drive or an external or cloud drive.
    • Complex system
      • When you are working on a research project involving many information sources, it can become more difficult to keep track of all the different authors involved and which specific pieces of information from each relate to your particular ideas and work. Citing the wrong author for an important concept or theory used in your paper is a mess you will want to avoid!
      • More complex systems can involve using a matrix or color coding approach to connect your notes to specific authors and works.

Research Management Software

  • Free and subscription based software tools are available that can be helpful when working on research projects that involve many information sources.
  • These software tools often combine functions for collecting, organizing, citing, and note-taking (in some cases) into one package. They often allow you to collect information from many types of sources across multiple databases including the open web.
  • Examples
    • EndNote: Students, staff, and faculty have free access to a "lite" edition of this tool through Clarivate Analytics. See EndNote Instructions for more information on how to create an account and use it.
    • Zotero: A freely available and robust tool for research management which includes collection, organization, citation, and note-taking tools plus options for forming shared group libraries in support of collaborative research. For specific instructions, visit the library's Zotero: Organizing Your Research guide.
  • Note: Many of the library's databases have options for setting up individual accounts, which will allow you to save resources to folders within the database you are searching. An issue with these tools is that they are specific to the database company, so that if you find something using an EBSCO database, you cannot save it to a folder you set up through ProQuest/Clarivate and vice versa. EndNote and Zotero are not limited in this way.