Integrity Matters
Citing and Documenting
Surviving the Semester

Keeping Track

Avoid repeating searches that you've already done by keeping track of where you found what. This will also help you to remember which databases and strategies worked the best for different topics. Some people use "research logs," but keeping track doesn't need to be very formal.

A research log can look however you want it to. It could be a chart with labeled columns, or it could just be notes that you jot down in your notebook, index cards, computer, etc. Some elements you might want to include are:

  • The date you searched
    (You'll need the date that you accessed web sites when you write your bibliography later.)

  • Where you searched
    (The catalog? An academic database? Google?)
  • Taking good notes and clearly marking your quotes, summaries, paraphrases, and original thoughts will also help you avoid accidentatlly plagiarizing.

  • The search words you used
    (And whether or not they were effective)
  • How you searched
    (By keyword? Subject? Author?)
  • How many books, articles, etc., you found
  • Ideas to try next
    (Different search words, approaches, databases, etc.)