The tips below are suggestions borne out of experience. Try a few, adapt others--it's up to you!
Name this document something descriptive, like Sources for COMM410 or Articles for Lit Review.
Including full citations in this document will save you some time later on. You might also make note of what an in-text citation for the source would look like.
Keep track of the page numbers each quote can be found on, and make sure each quote is under the correct heading, of course! If no quotes jump out at you, at least make some notes on what the source is about (summarize it).
Record some of your own thoughts about every single quote you add to this document. Changing the color of your text will help you keep track of what comes directly from the source and what comes from your own analysis.
Use your interesting quotes and analysis to start drafting your paper or project. Ask yourself if your sources answered the question you were researching, or what themes emerged from your reading. Start writing, and if you still have unanswered questions, keep researching!
Citation managers can help you keep track of large amounts of sources, as well as generate references lists and in-text citations. They can save you a lot of time and effort as you compile resources and integrate them into your writing.
Zotero is a free bibliographic manager available as a software plugin in your web browser. Zotero collects, manages, and cites research from multiple types of sources. Through Zotero you can organize your research into different folders for different projects. Zotero can create bibliographies using Word or OpenOffice. Zotero provides a series of tutorial videos to get you started.
Mendeley is a free reference manager that allows you to manage citations and PDFs. It includes plugins for Word and OpenOffice to create citations and/or bibliographies as you write. Unlike other similar tools, Mendeley is a social networking tool that allows you to connect and share with other researchers and students - you can even login via Facebook.
When you're settling in for a close reading of an article or study, try these reading strategies to help you save time and get the most out of your reading.