I came to the realization last night that I cannot write without my notecard system.* I had hopes that I could get through a short paper without them, but I have had a very hard time organizing my thoughts.
It’s a great system, but I’ve been hoping that I will find a better way. I just don’t see this being practical for writing an 80-page thesis paper.
I’ve also come to realize how kinetic my learning/recall processes are. I seem to have to turn note-taking and paper-writing into a physical activity, with elements that can be physically rearranged, moved, thrown out, in order to produce and support an abstract idea. Maybe I am a frustrated artist, like some believe all art historians to be.
1. Read sources with an open mind and without taking notes. Mark passages that seem important with post-its and pencil. Discard irrelevant sources.
2. At some point during the reading process, come up with an idea for the paper.
3. Skim the important passages from sources that have been pre-screened.
4. Make a numbered notecard with bibliographic information for each source that has any possibility of making it into the paper.
5. Make a notecard for each important passage, numbered in the top right corner to correspond with the bibliography card, and with page number at the bottom of the notecard.
6. Re-read notecards often during the writing process, arranging them into some sort of organized train of thought, and write directly from the passages/notes on the cards, using the numbers in the corner to keep track of which source to cite.