Five tips to help with research and note taking

These are some general tips that I have found useful when researching.

1) Buy or borrow the hardback versions of books where possible. Their spines are more forgiving, and are easier to leave open. This is especially useful for comparing texts and translations.

2) Use mini indexing sticky notes/ post-its to mark important passages in books. When you write up your notes you can then review whether you really need to write them down. I recommend reading the book all the way through first as sometimes you can come across a more useful passage later on.

3) With Kindle books take advantage of the highlighting system. You can take the notes from ‘My Clippings’ and create a new document, then review and edit as you see fit. Save the new document and print off.

4) If you have the book or article at home don’t tell yourself you have a set time in the day when you have to do your research unless you really have no other option. Using the index-sticky method I often find I can read through research material better at night. I then write up the notes in the daytime.

5) Use the library, especially for rare and more expensive books. Even if your local library service doesn’t have a copy of the book you’re looking for they can often borrow one from elsewhere. They may charge a small fee, but it’s well worth it and costs less than buying the books yourself. In some cases, unless you are part of a university or academic body, you cannot get hold of a book. In this instance the library inter-loan service is vital. It is thanks to this service I am currently reading ‘The Problem of Loki’ by Jan de Vries; there is no copy available to buy, at any price, and I am not part of a university or academic body.

I hope these tips provide some food for thought.


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