Organizing Term Papers

Word Processing and/or the Note Card System

When it comes to organizing information for a term paper or even a short two or three page paper, the "Note Card System" can be very useful. By using this system, you create note cards from blank 3x5 or 5x7 index cards that you fill with information pertinent to the subject that you are researching.  The organization of the information can readily be adapted to use with word processing...

How to Create a Note Card:






  • In the upper right corner of the card, "code" the topic of your paper, and where in the outline it may fall

  • In the upper left corner, place the author's name and/or title and page number

  • In the body of the card, enter one single fact or thought you'd like to include in your paper

Make sure the information is expressed in your own words, unless it is a quotation;
Use good sentence structure: this will save you time when you start to write the paper

  • Organize the cards to coincide with the outline of your paper

  • Write the term paper following this sequence
    Use topical, concluding, and transitional sentences to link the information on the cards

  • Keep a separate set of cards
    with the complete information of books, magazines, films, etc. These will be used for entering footnotes and endnotes, and when compiling the bibliography

Follow this same process in word processing!

  • Create a file organized with page breaks, or a series of files as your "notecards"

  • Print your pages and separate thoughts making sure that each section is properly identified

  • Organize the information by cutting, pasting, and sequencing

  • Edit as usual in word processing


return "Writing Index