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Generate and Refine Ideas

A Final Note: Keeping a Journal

A research journal is your space to record ideas in one single notebook or computer file. A notebook with pockets or a three-ring binder will allow you to add photocopies and shuffle materials, while a computer file will allow you to download files from the Internet and store files you’ve scanned. The journal itself can serve as a tool to generate and refine ideas for research papers. Keep your journal as you study a topic, then reread it and circle the topics, ideas, and examples you write about. And your journal can serve as a tool for the entire research paper writing process. Use it to house idea-generating techniques, sets of questions, notes from your classes, references, quotations, and your observations.