Monday, December 22, 2008

Topic: Research Paper

Question: How can I avoid the tediousness of writing research notes longhand?

10-second review: Student jettisons the 3" X 5” note cards in favor of using Excel from Microsoft Office.

Title: “Death of the 3” X 5” Note Cards. Dani Weber (student) and Mike Smithmier (teacher). English Journal (November 2008), 37 – 39. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary: Student Dani explains to teacher Mike how using Excel takes much of the tediousness out of recording notes for the research paper. She uses headings on the Excel spreadsheet: Source Name, Slug (topic), Notes, Page # and Outline #. Then she sorts each column in any order she wants, alphabetical or otherwise, and begins to write her paper.

Comment: Sounds cool. It all makes complete sense—if I knew how to use Excel. My younger daughter has been using it for years and praising the program for its flexibility. If your students understand how to use Excel, tell them about this idea and they can begin recording notes for their research papers and maybe teach their teacher how to avoid the tediousness of writing by hand. Me, I’m going to learn how to use Excel. I’ve waited too long to learn a program that my daughter has been telling me for years to use! RayS.

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