Managing all the materials you find and review is a key to success. It is important to STOP and organize your materials. There are several ways to do this. Some prefer to use citation management systems like Endnotes or RefWorks. Others keep electronic folders for each class and subfolders for each project with a spreadsheet or document listing the citations, search strategies and even quotations found. Often, you will need to do both. Find what works for you - and be prepared to change it when necessary.
STOP (Stop your research, Take a moment to Organize and Pull together your project materials)
You've just spent an hour (or six) searching for and downloading materials. It is critical you take a moment to organize everything you just collected. You may have articles, citations, data, search strategies, quotations, notes, and/or more.
Consider creating a Search Log. This can be used to track your searches through the databases. It could be in an Excel or a Word format - which ever works for you. The Concepts would be the key words related to your search. Related terms would include both author keywords and database subject/thesaurus terms for each concept.
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For tips on searching, visit:
USC Libraries offers the option to save search strategies and individual citations. Always check to be sure you are signed in (click the Sign in three times if necessary). To Access your search strategy and saved records, click on the Clock or Pin icons.
Save Searches (Query)
Managing all the materials you find and review is a key to success. Citation management programs allow you to import references from various databases and organize them to meet your needs. For more information, visit the USC Libraries Citation Guide and Library Tips: Choosing a Citation Manager and Citation Managers.
Find additional Resource guides under More.
Type in your information and have a citation compiled for you. Note that these are not foolproof systems so it is important that you verify that your citation is correct and check your spelling, capitalization, etc. However, they can be useful in creating basic types of citations, particularly for online sources.
NOTE: Many companies that create the research databases the USC Libraries subscribe to, such as ProQuest, include built-in citation generators that help take the guesswork out of how to properly cite a work. When available, you should utilize these features because they not only generate a citation to the source [e.g., a journal article], but include information about where you accessed the source [e.g., the database].