Intro: Finish Report or Research Paper Faster (without Index Cards)
If you are like me you like things done fast and well. It is complicated to be effiecient when the information you have to cover is so vast. Although this instructable will not give you a magical formula for you to actually write your paper faster, it will tell you how to get the information organized for easy access. The writing process might take a bit less when you can immediately refer to your sources of information.
Flashdrive/2nd hand storage
*The use of a computer is essential since it is here where you will save all of your work and where you will edit.
Step 1: Make a Folder
Title this folder by the name of the assignment or the due date.
If you know that the work must be prioritize drop that folder onto the desktop instead of my documents that way you can see it every time you use your computer. You may also want to create a shortcut on your desktop but dont copy the folder and place it on the desktop because then it will be two distinct folders with the same information BUT if you edit the content of one the other one will not change. If you are considering putting it on your desktop make sure you don't have a cluster of other shorcuts since it will be less visible.
Step 2: Make a Template
Consider using a template of older reports since the basic formatting of the margins and page will have already been altered. You can also make a new template that satisfies the assignments requirements. I use MLA formatted templates. Then save it under the projects designated folder.
Step 3: Make a Word Document Specifically for Your References
This is particularly useful if they are online resources since you can just copy the link on the document and open the hyperlink anytime you need to go back to the website.
Since I am a bit of a paranoid and fear that the website might not work or will show a not found image, I like to copy all the information of each of my articles on to a word document along with a direct url to it online. In order to continue with this insturtable you MUST save each individual article as a full text Word document . You should end up with one document per one source.
Step 4: Finally Open Your Template
which will be ready for you just to insert the name of your professor, name of course, and date, and work on it. Start off with a strong thesis and take it from there.
The benefit of your folder is that ever time you need to refer to a particular source you can look it up on the folder and open it. Having the articles saved on your PC is useful because you never know when your internet might not work or any crazy last movement problems.
It also helps since when you read the articles you can highlight important thing with the highlighter tool on Word. You could even insert notes you think are useful or that you will otherwise forget. To keep the confusion low make sure that your added notes are in a different font color and that the color is strongly vibrant color. I usually use red. Uniformity helps too, if you use red on one article for annotation, then use the same color in the following aritcles that way you know that that color is specifically for notes and nothing more.
Highlighting will save you time and money since you dont have to either go and buy index cards which takes time to write on them the name of the article that it corresponds to it, the page, the specific location, and if you are lucky and have time then the note.
This should cut down your time by at least one day of work (depending how much time you typically work on your project per day). Reading back to the parts of the work that you considered most important and looking for direct quotes will take seconds. It will also keep things organized and neat for easy access and reading.