Research Guide

(Click to expand each step)

Your goal while researching and taking notes is to become an expert on your topic.  You're not just gathering information for your project, you're researching to learn as much about your topic as you can.  When you start to research and take notes with the intention of becoming an expert, your notes and the process you use to take them will look very different from the typical mess of random numbers and words.

To take notes to become an expert:
  1. Read a section through
  2. Pause to think
  3. Write notes
    • SUMMARIZING IS ESSENTIAL
    • Paraphrase, don’t copy word for word
    • Experiment with different types of notes and when to use them.
      • T-chart
      • Web
      • Timelines
      • Drawings
    • Leave blank space for revision
  4. Re-read looking for details
  5. Revise notes
    • Use sticky notes to reorder facts and ideas
    • Use blank pages to go back and connect ideas
    • Determine central ideas of notes and connect individual notes to concepts
    • Go back over notes with markers, highlighters, crayons, etc and connect ideas with color
    • Create a glossary of expert vocabulary relating to topic



Want a step-by-step plan to follow?  Need help getting organized?  Confused about the research steps?  Print off your own copy of the Research Process Workbook and keep it with you throughout your research project!



Research steps developed from the Pitts/Stripling Research Model & Christopher Lehman's Energize Research Reading & Writing