Keeping a Research Log
Research logs prove invaluable at every stage of the research process from locating and evaluating sources, to composing your paper or literature review, to citing sources in your text, works cited list, or annotated bibliography.
Start your research log as soon as you begin your search for information sources. Do your online research in one window of your computer; keep your research log open in a second window. As you conduct your research, use your log to keep an informal yet detailed record of your research process. Include the full, formatted citations for all sources found; key words leading to the various sources; evaluative comments about each source, and brief summaries of important points as well as potentially useful quotations from them.
The notes you make in your research log will easily transfer later into your annotated bibliography and literature review.
When doing research for a literature review, be ready and willing to return to notes you've made on previous sources as you read subsequent sources. With each new source, you'll discover connections and departures between sources that you could not have anticipated.