Organizing and Synthesizing Sources

Sarah Morris
UT Libraries
Spring 2013
The Research Paper
• How do you get from your initial
assignment to your final paper?
• What steps do you take and what
tasks do you do?
The Research Process
Organizing Sources
• Organizing your sources is a
process called source synthesis
• Source synthesis means that you
organize your sources and put
them together in your paper in
order to make an argument.
Synthesizing Sources
How do you synthesize sources?
• The Main Idea
• Identifying the main ideas in your materials
can help you organize your sources and
use them effectively in your paper
• What your source is saying
• Identifying key points
• Look for abstracts and subject terms
• Pull it all together – take notes
Sample Research Topic
• What effects do
organic foods have on
people’s nutrition and
overall health?
• Look for information on
where organic food is
Finding the Main Idea
Activity: The Match Game
Taking Notes: Tips and Tricks
• Look for Main Ideas
• You can focus on article abstracts and subject terms in
databases as starting points
• Try to locate the article’s thesis statement
• Link resources together
• Look for common themes to connect resources
• Create “bins” of terms and ideas to organize your
research into useful categories
• Remember the paper topic!
• Make sure your resources relate back to that topic
Tools and Resources
• Evernote – storage and
capture tool
• Dropbox – cloud storage
and sharing
• – mind mapping
• Mind42 – mind mapping
• SquareLeaf – note taking
Additional Resources
• Course Guide:
• Ask a Librarian
• Undergraduate Writing Center

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