What am I on about?
EndNote is a referencing database tool that allows researchers to keep track of publications and source materials. Love it or hate it there is a reason why it is most commonly used and that is because by and large it makes life easier. One of the cool features of EndNote is that you can add your own research notes into the database for future reference and searching.
My Process and Logic
When working on a particular research project I have found that keeping a working master list of my literature review in a word document helps immensely. For my last thesis I kept a working lit review master file on the cloud and broke down the research questions and sub sections as headings to file away the snippets of information as I came across them. This way I could come back to say the section on “why compassion matters in parenting” and find all the useful bits of information I could draw on from the articles I had read. By making sure I referenced through EndNote using the CiteWhileYouWrite tool I managed to keep all my ideas centrally located.
What I didn’t do for most of the papers used during my last thesis was merge this information back into EndNote…I know I am kicking myself big time now. Why this is a bother is that much of this information is actually now a part of my own knowledge base and as I extend and build on my work I keep coming back to similar threads and following and connecting the dots. And I really do not have time to reinvent the wheel over and over again. So I am now in the process of merging my literature review master document into my EndNote Library for quick and easy reference.
I’s still in two minds about moving solely over to EndNote for my notes. I have taken to using a few tools to keep my on track research wise, particularly when working on longitudinal research where it can be a good year between data analysis points and working on things. However this virtual brain of mine should make things a lot easier down the track. The only thing I need to do now is make sure that I add my notes straight away.
- Find cool journal paper
- Import reference details into EndNote (or enter manually)
- Copy in any direct quotes I like into the research notes field and make sure I put in page numbers and quotation marks
- Add in my own thoughts and feedback about the paper
- Select anything of use and THEN copy it back into my working literature review master document under the relevant headings [SAVE, SAVE, SAVE ALL THE THINGS]