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Shuffling note cards helps her to do this, helps her avoid writing a source-by-source recap of the information she has read.
I would have had to teach the students the software, and the learning curve’s steepness and the difficulties with shared computers were substantial enough that it could never be justified.
Thus I have settled into a basic default with note cards.
I experimented with note programs, Google Notes, text boxes in Word, and online bookmarks, but was not happy with any of them until I stumbled upon Zotero.
I have praised Zotero before, but the heart of my praise is that the program mimics the note card method.
The problem was not that much better when reading books or paper sources—again I was copying something by hand only to have to type it later.
Acutely aware of this, I searched the web during graduate school for a program that would allow me to skip the pen work.It is a research log where students create an entry for their notes with each source.At the top of the entry they put the works cited citation and the day’s date.I champion this process—in particular the use of note cards—because I see it as a scalable method of note taking that allows students to manipulate information from sources in ways outside the organization of the original articles.A few years ago I heard a colleague question the use of note cards, wondering whether it was just a time-honored thing that we do simply because it was done to us.His first method was a take on the Cornell note taking method, or double-entry journal.With it, students write on the left side notes from their source and on the right side comments on those notes.I no longer believe that 3” x 4” or 4” x 6” cards are large enough to accommodate the frequently messy and occasionally extended writing that often characterizes genuinely useful notes.Little cards get in the way of having a good conversation with your sources.With it I was able to use the method I loved without the extra step.Yet when it came to my students, learning Zotero was not an option.