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All of them allow you to sort your research any number of ways. Here are three that I’m familiar with and like: Writer’s Blocks is a paid software program that visually mimics the index card system with “blocks” of text on the screen that can be arranged in rows and columns as you work.
There’s something endearing about the idea that research could be quantified, labeled, sorted alphabetically, and stored in the front pocket of your backpack, especially in a world where information has become infinite.
As a government writing trainer, I continue to see the value of the system. You type, and the letters move horizontally across the screen.
And that leads us to believe that all of our notes from a book or an article or a webpage are intricately connected. 4) They allowed concepts to be combined and re-combined.
Index cards can be laid out on a conference table, spread across your bedroom floor, taped to a wall, or strung out along a clothesline.
Word processing programs don’t come with a sort feature.
Calderon Life Dream Essay - Research Paper Index Cards
2) They tagged each quote or concept to a bibliographic entry.When I was in high school (and I’m not telling you how many years – decades?– ago that was), I learned to write research papers using note cards.In the top right hand corner, you then wrote the name by which the source would be alphabetized in the references list.And then it became really easy to shuffle the cards alphabetically.You press return, and your cursor moves vertically down the screen. They require tabbing or spacing, in other words the insertion of data that is unrelated to our thought process.And most word processors come with an auto correct function that attaches formatting to our words, formatting that can create relationships between concepts that we were not intending.As part of the Microsoft Office suite, it is probably the best, possibly the only, option available to government writers.Regardless which program you choose, remember the lessons learned from index cards.In a highly individualized society like the United States, that’s a huge problem. The first stage in the writing process is brainstorming, and it’s intended to be a very open process of determining what CAN be said about a particular topic.Only later does an author determine what he or she WANTS to say about a topic. When we take notes on a computer, we do so in a single document.