Advice needed on cataloging literature

posted
04-Jan-18, 03:50
by Jane92
Avatar for Jane92
posted about 9 months ago
Hi!

I'm new to this forum and to the PhD world ( Only started in September 17) and unlike my MSc, as you can imagine, i'm already reading and collecting a lot more literature.

How have people found the best method to catalogue their literature?

In all honesty, what I used to do for my BA and MSc was either print out the journal article, or make notes in a note book if it was a book (obviously i couldn't print out the entire book). As for my bibliography I used to just add to it as I went. 4 months into my PhD and well ahead with my literature reading, I'm feeling this method may not be sustainable - thus I have been looking at other options, but i'm still stuck at which is potentially the best.

What have others found that work well?

Several other students I have spoken with have adopted the use of Mendeley and Endnote, however i'm not sure if this would suit me.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!
posted
04-Jan-18, 11:05
edited about 1 minute later
by Nad75
Avatar for Nad75
posted about 9 months ago
Hey Jane92,

Yes, I think different methods suit different styles of learning/synthesising. I've tried Endnote and other reference managers, but I've only really progressed once I switched to the traditional notecard method. I've also found out that I actually remember the content of each article/chapter better once I've handwritten it twice and thematised it. If you're curious, this is my method:

This works for both physical and electronic sources. For PDFs, and organise them in 'Literature review' folder under the theme/concept I'm exploring. I have a large lined paper notebook in which I list everything I've read by bibliographic information in the back (an un-alphabetical 'works cited' type page), and write down direct quotations of the article that I find useful in the front. I also quickly summarise the article into a short, 5 sentence annotated bibliography. After I have gone through the article and feel like I've sufficiently copied the useful bits, I then put them on notecards. Front top of the index card is author(date), and theme that I'm categorising the index card under later, in a large rolodex type box. I then write the direct quote on the back w/page number and then write a parphrase in my words of the quote on the front of the index card. I file it away, and pull them out when I'm ready to write. That way, I can 'write around' direct quotations if I want, or already plug in my paraphrase of the quote.

This method words the best for me, and my supervisors said they're really pleased by how everything is synthesised, rather than a laundry list of (cf....). It also makes a great stack of physical notes in which I can re-theme and use for an article quickly, or presentation.

To each their own, and I'm curious what methods work for others, besides the electronic reference managers. I found this method online when I was getting frustrated by not remembering when I just copy and paste.
posted
07-Jan-18, 18:39
edited about 24 seconds later
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 9 months ago
I think this depends on the subject maybe. For me in a Science subject, I found a searchable reference manager like Mendeley to be all I needed. I annotated the PDFs in it if needed. For me, it's much quicker when I know I've read something somewhere, but can't remember where. I can't see how that would work if I was printing everything.
posted
08-Jan-18, 12:07
edited about 21 seconds later
by Nad75
Avatar for Nad75
posted about 9 months ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
I think this depends on the subject maybe. For me in a Science subject, I found a searchable reference manager like Mendeley to be all I needed. I annotated the PDFs in it if needed. For me, it's much quicker when I know I've read something somewhere, but can't remember where. I can't see how that would work if I was printing everything.


Very true, and most people work great with searchable reference managers! I'm the only one that I know of in my humanities/social science department doing this method. I thankfully don't have to work with quantitative literature reviews or data, so I mostly deal with short quotes which work well for index cards. The system I use wouldn't work very well with quantitative papers.

Postgraduate
Forum

Copyright ©2018
All rights reserved

Postgraduate Forum

Masters Degrees

PhD Opportunities

PostgraduateForum is a trading name of FindAUniversity Ltd
FindAUniversity Ltd, 77 Sidney St, Sheffield, S1 4RG, UK. Tel +44 (0) 114 268 4940 Fax: +44 (0) 114 268 5766