Kind of Notes for the Research Paper

There are basically four kinds of notes for the research paper that you might need to take. What kind of note do you need to take is a matter of your research paper requirement. You can also use a combination of any two types of notes for your research paper. The four kinds of notes for the research paper include paraphrase, direct quotation, and personal comment.

You already know that you have to take a single note on a single sheet of paper and you have to write down important details about the note on the corners of the paper. These important details will also include what kind of note is it: a paraphrase, a summary, a quotation, or a comment. This helps you later in analyzing the note and making the right conclusions out of it.

Types of notes for the research paper

A summary note

As a student, you might have written summaries several times, the rules to write a summary are the same here. The summarized note should have the following characteristics. It should have to be smaller in length than the original text, it should follow authors perspective but in your words, and it should follow the original organization of ideas by the author.

To write a summary note you need both good reading and writing skills. The aim is to select the important points and avoid the inclusion of unimportant details. Usually, students write a summary note when there are lengthy details and they feel like there are too many points that they do not need to be included in the research paper.

A paraphrase note

A paraphrase note restates the original text but in your words, the length of the note will remain the same as of the original text. While writing a paraphrase note keep in mind that you do not need to interpret it in your own words, you have to follow authors opinions and thoughts.

You need to write a paraphrase note when you want to simplify the language and make it understandable. You might want to restate a technical passage into a simple language that your readers can understand. Poetic expressions can also be converted into prose, a prose will be easier to understand than poetry for a lot of people. Sometimes the purpose of paraphrasing is to make the text easier for you to understand and analyze.

A direct quotation

A direct quotation is a word by word copy of the text that you read in a book, newspaper or journal etc. Not just the words but the punctuations should also be followed carefully as in the original source. You have to be very careful with using a direct quotation in your research paper, give full and proper credit to the author of that quote.

There might be many situations when you need to write a direct quotation in your research paper. For example, you need to write about a controversial topic and you want to avoid any bias by changing any words. You might find a direct quotation beneficial when you have to write about something where accuracy is very important. You can also use a direct quotation when you find a perfect piece of writing that does not and should not be changed.

When taking a direct quotation note follow all the rule that you followed while taking note of a summary or a paraphrase. Write down the full reference from where you took the quotation, also mention that it is a quotation.

A personal comment

Your comments about the research paper will make your research paper personal and unique. You have to write your own findings and opinions in your research paper. There are many times that we have some thoughts about a topic as we are reading about it. The moment you have some ideas and insights about the topic you should pen it down on a note card. This will help you later when you have to write down your analysis. These ideas if not properly recorded can be forgotten you cannot rely on your memory so better be safe by recording them. A personal comment is simple to record but very useful later on while you are synthesizing the whole research paper.


  • Roth, J. A., The Research Paper: Process, Form and Content, 8th ed., Wadsworth Pub Co., 1999, Pp-121-127
  • Research Process: A Step-by-Step Guide: 4a. Take Notes, sited on,, Last Updated: Sep 26, 2016



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