How Should You Organize Your Research Notes?

When it comes to researching, it’s easy to get stuck in your ways and pick up bad habits. Now you might be saying, “Hey! I keep my research organized!” Sure, you might have found a process for organizing your notes and sources to get the job done, but is it really the best method? 

The truth is, if you haven’t audited your research organization process in a while, it’s probably time to explore some new options. Because efficiency matters when you’re a writer, streamlining your research process can spare you from unnecessary headaches. 

At Slice, we’re on a mission to make writers’ lives easier. We’ve created this miniature guide to organizing research materials to help keep you on track to produce the best content possible!

How to Organize Notes for Work as a Business Writer

With fast-approaching deadlines and never-ending lists of to dos, professional writers have a lot on their plate. As a team full of organizational experts, Slice has put together a few best practices to organize your sources and research notes! Let’s take a look.

  1. Collaboration Is Your Friend

Although writing is often categorized as a solitary affair, even the most independent writers benefit from a healthy amount of collaboration–especially when it comes to organizing research. Business writing is a team sport, meaning you bounce from meeting to meeting as important ideas and viewpoints are shared. Of course, all of this information is extremely valuable, but it’s easy for it to be misplaced in the shuffle. When you make an effort to compare notes with other members of your team, you prevent your research from becoming too one-sided or siloed. Slice’s platform makes it easy to collaborate with others in real-time so you don’t miss out on any information. See how it works here

  1. Less Is More

When writing any long-form piece of content, it’s easy to get lost in the details. And there’s nothing worse than spending hours researching a topic that ends up being irrelevant in your final content piece. To prevent this from happening, we suggest creating a research outline before you start. This involves identifying three main things: 

  • Your content’s primary objective
  • The scope of your project
  • The needs of your intended audience

The research outline will serve as a guide to help you identify which sources and information are the most relevant to meet your end goal, and it prevents you from getting sidetracked and disorganized. 

  1. Keep It Together

Having all of your notes scattered across different folders, documents, and spreadsheets is a logistical nightmare. Not only is this a huge time waster, but it also leaves room for you to miss important details. To remedy this, we suggest keeping all of your research in one place, and having a set template for organizing your sources and notes. You could do this by creating folder templates and copy decks in platforms like Google Docs. Or if you want to make it even easier, you can use Slice to keep your sources and notes alongside your content–in one project–so you can easily access everything you need as you create your content.

  1. Eliminate Unnecessary Tabs

Look at your browser right now. How many tabs are open? If you’re like most people, you’re probably seeing double digits. Although it may be tempting to keep all of these tabs up, it can cause problems for a number of reasons. 

  • It can cause your research to become jumbled and unclear, making it harder for you to find what you need. 
  • With a messy browser, you’re more likely to lose a valuable source. 
  • Jumping from tab to tab is terrible for your focus and breeds endless distraction. 

To avoid clutter, you could consider a tool like Slice’s Web Clipper. This tool captures each source you need and stores it into the project you’re working on within the Slice platform, creating a repository of all the sources you need so you don’t have to go digging around for them later. 

Slice: Your Personal Online Research Organizer

At the end of the day, the best way to organize research notes really depends on your personal preferences and unique needs. Because every assignment is different, writers deserve a tool that can easily adjust to their ever-evolving assignments. Slice’s simple and flexible interface allows you to experiment with your organizational methods and create a process that’s perfectly tailored to your workflow. 

From sales proposals to blogs, organizing research notes with software from Slice allows you to streamline your flow and eliminate frustration so you can focus on success. Sign up and start your 14-day free trial to see what we can do for you!

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