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Note Card Format PDF Print E-mail

Note Card Format

You will be creating three types of index cards to organize your research:

A. Source Cards

B. Section Marker Cards

C. Note Cards

A. SOURCE CARDS: Check that each source is written on a separate index card (either 3 x 5 or 4 x 6 size is your preference).

Source Card
1. In the top right corner, number each source. On your Note Cards you need only write this number from now on.

2. In the top left hand corner of the Source Card, indicate the kind of source: book, periodical, reference, non-library, or computer.

3. Add a "Service Note" (S.N.) to describe the data contained.

B. SECTION MARKER CARDS: Using your Preliminary Outline, organize a file of index cards into Section Marker Cards.

Section Card
1. Make a separate Section Marker Card for each sub-thesis and topic sentence in your outline.

a. The Section Marker card for the first topic sentence in the first essay of your outline looks like this:

...................Under Development....................

b. The next Section Marker Card is for topic sentence I.B. Continue until you have a Section Marker Card for each topic sentence in your outline.

...................Under Development....................

2. After each Section Marker Card, insert four or five blank cards. These will become your Note Cards. When you find information that will support a topic sentence, you'll write that information on a Note Card in the section for that topic sentence.

C. NOTE CARDS: Make one Note Card for each piece of information you find that supports your topic sentences.

Note Card
Go to a source and check the index.

1. If you find information that will support one of your topic sentences, go to your card file and pull out a blank card from behind the Section Marker Card for that topic sentence.

2. Carefully read the relevant information in the book.

3. Either copy a quote exactly or CLOSE THE BOOK and paraphrase the information you find. Write your notes on the blank Note Card using the following format:

  • At the top left write the same heading as on the Section Marker Card (IA, IIB, etc.)
  • In the right hand corner, write the number of the source you are using (1, 2, 3, etc.)
  • In the lower right hand corner write the pages on which the information was found.
  • In the middle of the card, your notes should be either a direct quote, or your paraphrased version of the information you find.
· Place all quotations within quotation marks.
· The following kinds of material are best quoted:
  • Information from foremost authorities or celebrities
  • Passages from historical documents or of historical importance
  • Information that just cannot be paraphrased
  • Scientific information, statistics, results, tables, etc.
Paraphrasing: If you paraphrase, put the information in your own words, using specific details.


1. Each section behind each topic sentence Section Marker Card must have a variety of different types of sources to support the topic sentence.

2. The support for each topic sentence should have one consistent view. If a contradiction in ideas exists, use the following criteria to decide which view is the best:

  • Which view has the most supporters?
  • Which view has supporters with the best "credentials"?
  • Which view is supported with the most recently published information?
  • Which view has the most valuable information (statistics, scientific observations as opposed to opinion)?