Answered By: Dave Harmeyer
Last Updated: May 22, 2020     Views: 45

There are two different approaches I suggest for organizing your research: 1) easy learning curve and 2) longer learning curve. 


1) Easy learning curve (OK to place your articles on a shared Google Drive):

a) Use your computer. If you're using a PC or a Mac (and you don't have it already), download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader DCWhen you read a PDF file from your computer it will be read by Reader DC which has easy-to-use tools to mark up (take notes) on a PDF. When I'm working with it, I turn the cursor from a hand to the arrow, block text and chose the high-light tool not only to highlight the text but take a note in a pop-up box. Blocking also allows you to underline.

For an iPad - download PDFelement for iOS. It does a similar thing that Adobe Acrobat Reader DC does when you bring up PDFs from iBooks or in Safari. 

b) I suggest saving all your documents in one folder with three pieces of information: 1st author's last name, title of the article (8-15 words) and the year date of publication. That way you can sort by last name, and search by date and title.  

c) I recommend doing all your preliminary work in a "NOTES" Word document. At the top but a title (your topic) and the uppercase NOTES (so you know any document labeled like that is a NOTES document). Next line begin with today's date (5-8-2020), then an outline you are starting to use to build your paper. Next, place this NOTES document on one side of your screen (I prefer the right side). Bring up your first article you need to harvest quotes, summaries, your thoughts from. Put it on the left side of your screen. 

d) Before copying quotes to your NOTES document, find the APA citation for your article. How? One way is to copy the title and go to APU's library main main page, scroll down and paste the title into the Quick Search box and click Search. The first or second record should be the article. Click the title, then on the right click the icon Cite and another box opens giving you the citation in several styles. You'll need to scroll down in the box to see APA. Copy the citation, paste it into the NOTES document above where you'll be taking notes on that article.

Another way to get an APA citation, copy the title, go to Google Scholar paste the title in the single box and click search. The record for that article should be near the top. Look at the bottom line of that record. Click on the double quotation marks (") and up pops a box with different citation styles, APA will be near the middle. Copy that and paste it in your NOTES document. 

Note: these citations are computer generated and not always 100% accurate. You still need to double-check that everything is correct. One of the best places to go to check APA accuracy is Purdue University's APA guide. Go to here, then on the left click open APA Formatting and Style Guide 7th Edition then click Reference List: Electronic Sources and scroll down to find an example like your citation (for example does it have a DOI, does it not have a DOI, etc.). Most examples of your online, peer-reviewed scholarly articles -- should be found on this page.

e) Going back to your first article where it's placed on the left side of the screen and your NOTES document on the right (my preference), on a PC put your cursor in the text, then do a Control F, for a search box to open at the top. Type a key word, and let the search function find where you need to read. Don't read the entire article. Get a quote, summary, or take notes all in your NOTES document. For a Mac it's Command F, for a tablet follow these instructions. 

f) Under your (now) accurate APA citation of your article, continue taking notes on the article. Remember to put the page number (p. 235) before you paste the quote or summary. You may need to use that page number in the writing of your paper. 

g) Finish all your articles this way that are important for, say, your paper's literature review. Next, study through your finished notes, mark them up for common themes, high-light critical pieces, move text around -- it's your working NOTES document.  

h) Finally, open a new Word document and type a few words. Then set this Word document in APA format: block the whole document (PC: control A, Macs: command A, iPads use the handles to block all text) change font to Times New Roman, font size 12 (APA 7th edition allows for several more fonts and sizes), click the Line and Paragraph Spacing icon to make the spacing double, in the same icon, "Remove Space After Paragraph." Now you can type your paper using the example from your professor or look at the sample paper in Purdue University's APA guide here. Use the APA 7 Student Paper version. 

2) Longer learning curve (use EndNote X9 and EndNote Online, instead of placing articles on a shared Google Drive) 

a) Use EndNote. For APU students and faculty, EndNote X9 is available for free here, which organizes all your citation information, keeps full text, and, with a few clicks, creates in-text citations and reference citations in your Word document automatically. It is also easy to share your EndNote data with others by using the EndNote Online sync feature. 

b) Click the above link and after downloading, follow these instructions: Downloading & Installing EndNote. important: remember the location of the folder where you Extract ENX9Inst. If you need the Product Key it is located in the same folder you downloaded ENX9Inst. It's in its own separate file called Serial for Endnote x9.txt

c) Use the 12-page APU EndNote X9 Tutorial to walk you through how to use EndNote X9. Or if you are more technology savvy, use the 1-page APU EndNote X9 Tutorial.


I believe that's it. Please let me know if you need any further assistance. 

Dave Harmeyer

626-815-6000, ext. 3255