Friday, February 5, 2021

Using OneNote As Your Research Assistant

By Pat Miller

Doing things the hard way can teach one a lot of unforgettable lessons. It can also waste time, increase frustration, and sap your energy.

This post is going to give you the benefits of the hard way I did research, and the almost magically easy way to do it using an online notetaking program / app. I discovered that a program like OneNote can be a research assistant.

THE HARD WAY

When I began researching for what eventually became The Hole Story of the Doughnut, I made two big mistakes.

Mistake #!: I had no idea what the focus of my book would be, so I spent MONTHS and MONTHS gathering every fact I could. I didn’t know if I would need it, so I saved it. This is the Hoarder Version of research and is just as ineffective as storing every item and bit of trash that enters your house. Avoid this by having a carefully chosen focus before you start.

 

Mistake #2: My research “focus” was  “What is every fact, salient or otherwise, about the guy who invented the doughnut?” I collected census records, history on tall ships, maps of sailing routes, emails from maritime experts. I had info on his sister who had six children, four of them tragically lost to yellow fever in a single week. I found pictures of their tiny headstones and  researched the yellow fever epidemic. I amassed more than 250 pages of notes and copies before trying to shape it into a nonfiction picture book.


 

Eventually I found my book’s narrow focus and sifted out the fragments I needed to draft my story. It was accepted by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for publication. Now came another unexpected headache. The fact checker asked for back up on several facts in my book. I knew it was somewhere in those 250 pages, but where? What a frenzied search that was.

THE EASY WAY

After surviving the Hoarder Version, I determined “Never again!” For my next manuscript, I used a free note-taking program called OneNote. There are a number of programs/apps that do something similar for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac.

Check out The 5 Best Note Taking Apps for 2021 to learn more. It is beyond the scope of the article to tell you how to use them, but tutorials are readily available. I want to share with you how to use your  new research assistant.

My remarks pertain to the one I use, OneNote for Windows 10, but there are similarities among the five. No more having files on your phone or computer, notes in a drawer or all over your desk, random thoughts stashed in your brain. Here is how your research life is going to get easier!

1. Be organized. Like you might do traditionally, OneNote can be arranged in binders, each with tabbed sections and pages. What you commit to these notebooks is automatically saved to the cloud and can be used across your devices and shared with others. 

 


 

2. Never lose another note. I can convert handwritten text within my notebook to print (ink to type) or type my notes using Word formatting.

 

3. Ever had a website disappear on you? Ever forget to quote your source for the passages you do capture?

OneNote has a toolbar icon that is ready at all times to clip and save your online sources. You can clip a highlighted part of a page, a full page, or the whole article. Plus, the program adds attribution to anything you clip.

It’s all in the menu you can access at any time in your research from an add-on that sits in your toolbar..

 


 


4. You can easily and permanently save notes, files, web sites, images, video, and audio. You can keep your photos (original and online), your interviews, your notes, lists, emails, etc. all in a single notebook under various organizational tabs.

 

5. When your fact checker asks for evidence, you can easily search within a section, or across an entire notebook, or all your notebooks  using keywords. Now that’s magic!

This shows results from searching for “Texas” within a single section. Clicking the arrows takes you to each reference.

 

 


 

This shows results from searching for “Texas” across the whole binder, showing which tab and which page within the tab it is on.



Whether you are a novice or a pro, you deserve a talented research assistant. And your online one, available 24/7 for free, is ready to be interviewed!

 

ACTIVITY:  Go to The 5 Best Note Taking Apps for 2021 and select a “research assistant” to try. If you are adventurous, try a tutorial for your favorite.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pat Miller is a former career elementary teacher and school librarian who published 20 professional books and 200+ articles before turning to writing children’s books. Of her 9 titles, Substitute Groundhog (Albert Whitman) and The Hole Story of the Doughnut (HMH) were named Junior Library Guild selections. With the Nonfiction Chicks, Pat has organized NF Fest. She and her husband have 10 grandchildren under the age of 10 who love books, and an illiterate shelter dog named Pepper. Learn more at www.patmillerbooks.com.

 

 

ABOUT THE PRIZE

Pat is giving a critique for a nonfiction picture book of 1000 words or less.

177 comments:

  1. Pat, great post and I like OneNote best. Works so well on my PHONE (talk about convenient) when I travel and discover. Click a picture, speak a note, save a new idea or add to an old one.
    I really need to upgrade my skills w tabs and binders (parts of my OneNote are as cluttered as my real desk) but the data and sources and ideas and research are there. Fantastic tool.

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    1. True, Damon, the phone app makes it very convenient!

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    2. I <3 the phone app! I can do research in my car while I wait!

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  2. I've never used OneNote before, but you've made a compelling case! Thank you! :)

    I'm curious about how you compile your bibliographies. I've heard that you should include a complete bibliography with your manuscript, even though it will likely get whittled down to a "Selected Bibliography" at some point in the process. But what sources should you include? (For academic research, I include the sources I cite within the paper. But for a picture book --- what about sources that help me better understand a time period or give me background information about some detail, even if that research doesn't show up in the final text?) Also, does it matter which style (APA, MLA) you use for bibliographic entries?

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    1. After my experience with a thorough fact checker, I include a bibliography for EVERYTHING! One of my pages in OneNote is a Bibliography page. Before I take a single note or add a single source, I jot the bib in my list. These will be for your purposes and will later serve as sources for your selected bibliography. I use MLA because that was requested by a publisher early on, and it has served me well with subsequent publishers.

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    2. Thanks Pat! That is super helpful!

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  3. I love, love, love your advice. There’s no time (rabbit holes will still exist, but that’s another post) wasted when learning from others’ missteps. Thank you, Pat.

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    1. Thanks, Joyce! If you can learn from my missteps, then it makes them a little less painful for me. :-)

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  4. Thanks so much for the advice, Pat. I'm always looking for a better way to organize notes. I'm a bullet journal lover, so you know I love organization. I just started fooling around in One Note, took a tutorial, and will continue to try to learn. I think committing to using it for a project would be the best way to get comfortable with it.

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    1. I agree. And the peace of mind knowing you won't lose that key bit of info is well worth the learning curve.

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  5. Thank you for this tip about apps, Pat. I do tend to collect a lot of info! Love your books.

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    1. Thanks, Robin. This is definitely one worth learning.

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  6. Thanks for the advice and recommendations Pat! I recently uploaded Notebooks to my phone and iPad for Storystorm, but I think I will convert to OneNote before I get too involved with the other. I really like the features I have read about here and in your links!

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    1. Good idea. They all have their good points, but for me OneNote is so easy. I use very few of the added features because the basics are perfect for me.

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  7. This is great! I currently print and add to a binder or in google docs but to have it all in one place, even photos and the option to use tabs is worth me learning. Thank you.

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    1. So you have the giant binder like I did at first! You may still want one or maybe a box if you collect ephemera and specimens that won't fit OneNote.

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  8. OOH-this is so needed! I collect my info in binders or try to snap pictures of them-only to get lost in my photostream... Great advice! Checking into this now. Thank you!

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    1. I hope you do. The smug feeling you get when a search of OneNote readily brings up that fact you stored is so worth it! Much better than the despair of losing it in the maelstrom of binders, folders, paper napkins, etc.

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  9. OMG....I too use the hoarder technique and will check out the notetaking apps today! Thank you Pat.

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    1. You'll look back and wonder how you lived without it.

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  10. I am a novice at OneNote but it certainly is worth learning. It beats the alternative note-taking methods! Thanks, Pat!

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  11. There's some learning time involved up front, but nothing like the time wasted searching for a lost fact!

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  12. Pat, thanks for this post. I've never dared used online note keepers. I must try though because I feel like I live in a used paper factory. Right after I finish this comment I'm going to research and play around!

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    1. Do try. This might be the date that divides your life into Before: Hard Way / After: Easy Way.

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  13. If you look up Information Hoarder you'll see my face. I am the worst about clipping and saving every scrap of paper not only for what I'm working on but anything that might be of interest in the future. I'm excited to try this. And thank you for the reminder to focus!

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  14. That's my face next to yours The day I found myself wondering what kind of dog my subject had, I knew it was time to stop researching and start writing!

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  15. A very interesting idea! I still use a lot of footnotes and comments in the margins but I am going to give this a try. Thank you!

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    1. Hopefully you will find a way that works for you--you may be pleasantly surprised.

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  16. I already have 600 pages of footnoted research. Although I dread starting something new, I can at least take a look at it. Thanks for the nudge.

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    1. Whatever works for you. Maybe you'll want to use this for your next project.

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  17. Informative post! A great way to keep your notes/research organized! Thanks for sharing, Pat!

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  18. Thanks for the tips, Pat! Do you use OneNote with Scrivener at all? I'm wondering about working between the two. Perhaps OneNote for research on the go.

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    1. I have Scrivener and even paid for a class to learn it. It was a challenge for me to use--and I abandoned it once I found OneNote. Many find Scrivener ideal. You have to find what works for you.

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  19. Looks like OneNote is a game-changer! Thank you Pat!

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  20. Thank you for suggestion one note. I have an apple computer so I’m not sure if I should use apple notes instead. Does it matter?

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    1. I'm strictly a PC girl, so I don't know. Check out the sites I mentioned to see if that helps. There are notetaking apps for Apple products.

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  21. Interesting idea. I use Scrivener to manage note-taking, saving drafts, saving deleted passages, etc. I'll look into that list of best apps for sure.

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  22. Scrivener is the powerhouse of the notetaking products and can do all kinds of sophisticated things that free apps don't offer. My advice is to find one that works for you and stick with it.

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  23. I have been using something that wasn’t working for me and your post so clearly explained the benefits! I can’t wait to try OneNote and thank you for the earlier reply where you explained about your Bibliography page. So very helpful. Thanks so much for this informative post!!

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    1. You are very welcome! Sounds like you have the motivation to find a program and let it work for you. It makes a huge difference when you can concentrate on the research and the writing rather than maintaining a random pile of notes and documents.

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  24. Thanks for your informative post about OneNote. I am about to undertake a new project and will commit to giving it a try. My file folders are usually bulging, so this sounds like a possible solution.

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    1. Not only will you save your sanity, but think of all those trees saved!

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  25. Thanks for the thorough explanation. I still don't have a system which works for me. I tried Evernote, but then I just had loads of digital files which were harder to search than my paper ones. I will take a look at your methods for my next research project. Thanks so much for the tips on focus!!!

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    1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the search feature on OneNote. Sometimes I just do a search for the fun of seeing how lightning quick the results return. Not like the frantic paper searches for the fact checker's request. That panic is what motivated the change for me.

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  26. You had me at "OneNote can be arranged in binders." I will definitely be trying this. Thank you!

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  27. I think that's why it works well for me--it is so similar to the old school system I'm used to.

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  28. Thank you Pat Miller for your honesty of learning how to organize the many mounds of paper accumlitated for creating and researching a story! I am going to make it a priority to learn about using Onenote this weekend as my paper piles are.......
    I know this is a ridiculous question, but what happenes to my saved info if something happens to my stored Onenote notes? Do they ever delete themselves? Accidently?
    I love The Whole Story of the Doughnut!

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    1. That's another EXCELLENT feature of OneNote. You never have to remember to hit save--it saves automatically. And your info is stored in the cloud, so even if your computer quits, you won't lose your data. Because it's in the cloud, you can access it from any device, anywhere!

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  29. Thanks for the information. I’m trying to organize my notes and writing on my computer so this is very useful information.

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  30. Hope you find one that helps. It is very freeing when you know your research is safe and accessible.

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  31. Definitely going to try OneNote. I just started using OneDrive, so getting used to storing my docs on the cloud. Thanks for the helpful tips!

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    1. You might be out of your comfort zone briefly. But then you'll be in the Blissful Research Zone. It's worth it!

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  32. PS: My latest manuscript is about a dog named Pepper!

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  33. Thanks for all the info! Love the idea of having a Research Assistant. :)

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    1. Yes. And one that is meticulous, doesn't forget, and works for free!

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  34. Thanks for sharing your insights. I, too, am a hoarder of facts! I think it's my excuse to procrastinate on the actual writing.

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    1. I'm with you. I LOVE the research--why I know so much about sailing ships and yellow fever when writing about a mariner who invented the doughnut! None of that is in the book, and my editor made me cut the back matter down by two whole pages! So much good stuff I found that I wanted kids to know!

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  35. You had me at keyword search :) Installing the OneNote app now! Thank you for the great advice and also the product review article!

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    1. I hope you enjoy using it. It is definitely a game changer for me.

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  36. One Note looks promising, I'm just so old school, don't know if I can switch. I use citefast for bibliography.

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  37. If your system is working for you, no need to switch. But if it isn't, now you have some options to investigate.

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  38. Such a helpful post - this is exactly what I need! I’m in the early stages of writing my first NF picture book and have definitely found myself going down the path of the research hoarder 😂 so am excited to check out these tools and get more organized, as well as focus my story so I can better target my research efforts. Thank you!

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    1. I'm glad you get to learn from my mistakes. Even if you go down a rabbit hole, you won't be sacrificing trees to take the notes.

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  39. Thank you! I stumbled into OneNote due to I need more room in my house. I have boxes and boxes of journals. We should fit in our house, so now I am able to go through and separate out what's a story, idea, memories, business plan, and well, general griping. OneNote lets me just snap a photo, put like with like, and free up valuable real estate in my closet office. I keep a bag of journals in my car that I go through while waiting in the pick up line.

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    1. I laughed at your journal of general griping. Even that can have a home in OneNote. And using car pickup time to get organized--that's genius!

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  40. Wow! Thank you so much. Exactly what I need!

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  41. Thanks for all the info. Happy to see Evernote (which I use) is one of the top choices.

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  42. Every one will have their own favorite--there are great choices available.

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  43. Thank you Pat for the introduction to some One Note features that I have not used so far. I went to a class by Elizabeth Montgomery on Research and she pointed out all the cool things One Note can do so I started using it for my new picture Book and I love it. I didn't know you could clip things from the web like Evernote and that is a great find.
    Can you explain or point me in the direction of how to convert handwritten notes to text on One Note? Thanks!

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    1. Here's a Microsoft link to OneNote for Windows 10--what I use. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/change-handwritten-ink-to-text-or-math-in-onenote-for-windows-10-d865a2ea-9b2d-4738-afe7-157ce309721a. If that doesn't suit, Google "One Note Ink to Text". Lots of info.

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  44. I have OneNote on my computer and even have OneDrive, linking my laptop and desktop via the Cloud. But I hadn't used OneNote until TODAY, based on your recommendation. So, I started a Section titled NFFest with a page for each date and summarized my favorite ideas from each post there. It's working great! I have numerous file boxes, computer folders, and paper notebooks for each of my projects so far, but I will definitely experiment with this going forward.

    One question: I can't seem to find the clip feature. In the banner at the top, I have options for insert, link, etc., but nothing that says clip. The reason I'm asking is I LOVE the feature you mentioned about how it automatically inserts the web address from an article you save or paste from the web. Perhaps that's in the Windows 10 version only? I tried to compare a bit couldn't tell.

    Thank you so much for sharing your tips! Nonfiction Chicks are a generous and professional bunch!

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    1. Pat, I'm replying here to let you know I kept digging and found how to set up the web clipper feature! Thanks again for sharing about this.

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    2. So you found out you have to add a little icon to your tool bar. Now the fun begins!

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    3. Your idea of using OneNote to keep ideas (and even pertinent quotes) from NF Fest is a brilliant one!

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  45. Thank you for sharing this tool, I am glad to know that it exists! I can only imagine how it saves time. I will definitely check it out! :)

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  46. I'm still not sure I'm ready to give up my paper files. I think I tried it once for about half a minute, but maybe I need to give it another shot. Also, my husband got me a Rocketbook notebook, in which I can write notes that are uploaded to a computer file and I imagine I can have those imported into One Note ... going to check now. Thanks so much Pat!

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    1. Don't feel like you have to take this on. Do what works for you.

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  47. Thanks for sharing your experience with OneNote. I use Evernote for everything: recipes, hiking maps, research, vacation ideas, financial things.... However, I'm really glad you brought up the use of labels (tags in Evernote). I use them all the time to keep recipes sorted, but haven't used them in my research files. Great idea!

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    1. As you use it more, you might try additional features.

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  48. Pat, I LOVE using OneNote. I've used it as an electronic binder with my students for years, but it dawned on me with my last book project that I could use it to organize my research info also. It's made my process so much easier!!

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  49. Thank you for sharing. I will have to check out some of the tutorials but this looks interesting.

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  50. Thank you so much! I'm horrible at organizing my research, so this is a good opportunity to try some new techniques.

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  51. Thank you, Pat, for sharing your organization tool. I've not tried OneNote, but I'm going to check it out. You have prompted me to try something different :)

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  52. This is an informative article. My goal is to make time to view a tutorial for the Apple Note app. Thanks!

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  53. Thank you! This article is the kick in the pants I need to get organized.

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  54. Hope it helps you get organized.

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  55. Thank you, Pat. You share the experience of your struggles to make our writing lives better.
    I'm going to start using OneNote right away. I was thinking of starting with notes from this nffest and I found others have commented about it also.

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    1. Sounds like perfect timing--and a great application.

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  56. Pat, thank you!! For me the advice you started with (#1 get a focus for your book so you can have #2 a focus for your research) is as helpful as your information about organizing one's research. Your post and the article you've linked us to has inspired me to giving OneNote a try. I have a Mac and that's why I went with Evernote, but I'm paying $7.99 a month and I don't think I'm using it to its fullest! Thank you!!

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    1. Evernote might work for you if you investigate it more. OneNote is relatively simple and works for me.

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  57. Marilyn HollinsheadFebruary 5, 2021 at 6:06 PM

    How does this compare with Scrivener?

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    1. A big difference is the price. OneNote is free, Scrivener is pricey. Many writers love it once they get past the learning curve. I bought Scrivener and a course on how to use it. Way too sophisticated for me. I abandoned it once I found OneNote.

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  58. Thanks for sharing your insight on one note. I’ve had research compiled in Evernote and I use scrivener and zotero. I used one note for school. It would be nice to streamline collecting information. Too many options. I appreciated your post today.

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    1. So many good options. Hope you find the best fit for you.

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  59. Thank you so much for sharing how we can eliminate the mounds of paper and over-stuffed notebooks. Looking forward to being able to clip sources and find them fast, too. I love how you search just to see how fast OneNote finds your request. Your post and these apps are game changers!

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  60. I do hope you'll try one. Not only is it a time-saver, but it will keep your info safe and organized.

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  61. Thank you, Pat, for a great post! I know that getting research organized at the outset will keeps me saner along the way and not overwhelmed! I also appreciated your comment about knowing my book's focus before starting all the research. That should help me greatly as I, too, tend to want to collect MANY facts about something that might not be of any use. Anyway, going to give Onenote a try on my mac. Thanks again for this solid information.

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    1. Glad to help. Focus first, research second. Unless you simply enjoy the hunt and have lots of time to spend on it. :-)

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  62. Sage advice for everyone trying to write NF (and even fiction)! Thank you, Pat!

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  63. Pat, Thank you! This was a wonderful reminder to get OneNote reinstalled on my new phone! I never realized it had so many features. I've always associated those those with Scriviner. OneNote seems a little easier to use.

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    1. A LOT easier. Fewer features and sophistication than Scrivener and it is free.

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  64. Thank you for this very informative cautionary tale/article, Pat. I always appreciate learning about something my computer is capable of, but which I haven't yet explored.

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  65. Thank you for this very informative cautionary tale/article, Pat. I always appreciate learning about something my computer is capable of, but which I haven't yet explored.

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  66. Thank you, and I'm sure my husband thanks you. I am a prolific notetaker. I save everything and I spend a great deal of time organizing my chaos. I love the idea of organizing as I go. I can't wait to try out a few programs to see what works best for me and my madness.

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  67. I'm pretty old school in my notetaking but can see the value in using a research assistant. I've toyed with the idea and will give it a go for my current WIP.

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    1. The best advantages are being able to quickly search all your notes, and that you can access them from any device anywhere.

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  68. Thanks for the information. I've always been hesitant to try any application to help with writing but I think I'll give OneNote a try...

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  69. I didn't even know these kind of apps exist! I'm not very techy but am definitely going to try this. Thank you!!

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  70. OneNote is not techy. That's the appeal for me, it's quickly learned and applied.

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  71. I've not heard of this or used it but it sounds like a great way to stay organized. Thanks for sharing, Pat!

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  72. Genius, Pat Miller! Ty for this great explanation! I'm still doing it the hard way. I've tried several, including Scrivener but haven't found the one for me yet. TY.

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  73. Once you get comfortable with it, you will wonder how you ever wrote without it.

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  74. Thank you for the great tip, I just use OneNote for my grocery list, I should really think about having it be my one shop stop for ideas/research.

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  75. Thanks Pat. I will check out the Apple product. It will be a great help for a project I am beginning on! No more research boxes in the garage is the goal.

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    1. Perfect timing! And you will love not having to dig through boxes looking for that elusive fact.

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  76. Thank you for your words of wisdom!

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  77. Just wanted to thank you again - because of your "nudge" I reopened Evernote and I am using it to organize my research for an exciting, new writing project. :)

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    1. Evernote will help you keep that excitement because you won't be bogged down by the Hoarder Version of research.

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  78. The thing that looks so cool about OneNote is searching for that one elusive bit of info, especially when it's a must-have for documenting a fact or citing a source for a quote. Thanks for the heads up!

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  79. Yikes, I need OneNote as well since I also tend to hoard sources...and faced an equal nightmare with my HMH editors. Thanks for the nudge!

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  80. Give it a try. I don't think you'll ever go back.

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  81. I love OneNote--started using it several books ago because of the free storage! It's great for online research--if I find an article that looks remotely helpful I just clip it right away. I need to get better at organizing my notes like you; thank goodness for the search function! Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

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  82. Even if you don't use every feature, you can focus on creating your story knowing your research is safe and organized.

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  83. Thank you for your interesting post, Pat. I've used both OneNote and EverNote in the past, but not recently. Thanks for the reminder to get back to it!

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  84. I know what it feels like to over-collect background information. Thanks for the reminder to stay focused on your focus. I am a fact hoarder and I get wound up all too easily in side plots.

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  85. And actually, that's the fun of research, right?

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  86. Thanks, Pat. I have been using OneNote sporadically, mostly to capture sources, but your screenshots of pages were really helpful to me in terms of how to use it more effectively throughout a project.

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  87. I hope you will give it a try--clipping sources and getting automatic attributions is such a time saver. And the security of knowing they will be there, even if the link disappears, is worth the curve.

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  88. Thanks for these tips; I'm currently in the hoarder stage and now looking forward to getting out of it!

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  89. Oh - I am guilty of all of this! However, I do think my research process improves with every project. I will definitely have to try ONE NOTE. Right now, all the files are on my computer, but this will definitely help. Thank you!

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  90. I love taking notes on my phone, but I'll have to figure out how to organize and put tabs on my notes. I didn't know that was possible!

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  91. Hello Pat,
    Thanks for the informative blog about OneNote. For those still learning uses for OneNote, be aware that OneNote can be integrated with Dropbox. That way a writer can share all the documents with anyone assisting with research, or with a team of researchers. We all have a team, right!
    Find instructions for merging these two apps on Google or Youtube.
    Best Wishes,
    JM

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    1. That's a great feature that is new to me. It just keeps getting better!

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  92. I have a fairly new project I'm working on so in an attempt to be more organized with research you've inspired me to give OneNote a try. I've watched a tutorial online for beginners to help me get started. Thanks.

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    1. The timing is good. You will get back all the time spent learning the program plus peace of mind.

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  93. I’m definitely going to check this out! Thanks, Pat!

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  94. Thanks for the suggestions. Anything to help me gather together all the info into a usable and collective whole is welcome. Notes on pieces of scrap papers, taped on pages in notebooks, are getting heavy to carry around. :)

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  95. Excellent information! Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts about using OneNote for research.

    Suzy Leopold

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  96. I love to hand-write with a good pen. I'm kind of 'old school' in this area, but I promise to check them out and try one.

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  97. I had to laugh at your description of your research process spilling into all sorts of tangents -- sounds familiar. Thank you for great suggestions of organizing note-taking apps.

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  98. After reading this, I definitely need to check out OneNote.
    Thank you for sharing this!

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  99. My file cabinet was tipping over each time I opened its bulging drawers. So I switched to binders. I was so proud of my binders until they started crowding me out of my office. Thank you, Fearless Leader! Once again you lead this old Neffer to a better path!

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    1. Thanks, Carmela. And good for you for being open to so many new tactics to avoid that Hoarder Takeover.

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  100. Thank you so much for this article. I'm trying Evernote already, after reading this. Learning a bit.

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  101. Time to stop being a hoarder! Thanks so much for the information!

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  102. Organization is SOOOOOOO important. After my piles of scraps made me nuts when I actually had to go back and try to find things, I found my spiral method that has been working well. My problem is that I don't want to take the time to learn a new computer method....but you have inspired me and I will put this on my list of TO DOs! Thank you!

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    1. Have you heard the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" If your system works for you--stick with it.

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  103. Thank you for sharing the advantages of using a note-taking app. I already have one on my iPhone/iPad devices (‘Notes’) but never thought to use it for any of my writing projects. I will spend the next few weeks learning how to optimize my in-house “research assistant” and organize my writing projects. If I can avoid adding another subscription or losing my little gems on scrap pieces of paper and keep what I love to hoard at my fingertips, then all the better.

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  104. The Notes function on my iPhone isn't nearly enough for me. If you're learning a new app, you might want to go with OneNote or something similar. It pays bigger dividends for your time spent learning it.

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  105. I bought Scrivner a few years ago but never made the time to actually learn how to use it. I like the concept behind OneNote and will have to try it out...

    Great post! Thanks for sharing!

    Donna L Martin

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  106. Thanks for a great post and a link to the article about note-taking apps. I will be organizing my research in 2021!!

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  107. I had this problem when I did my first book. I was up and down the rabbit hole. Thanks for the reminder about organization! It's key to everything!

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  108. Thanks, Pat. I am going to try it! Great article!

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  109. I usually take my notes by hand, but I will definitely try this! Thanks, Pat!

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  110. I can't believe I've had OneNote at my fingertips and never tried it. Thanks for inspiring me!

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  111. Okay, you've convinced me to try OneNote, Pat. (Hey, fiction writers use research, too! :-) Thanks for the tips!)

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  112. Wow! You gave a peek into a brave new better organized world I want to be in. Thanks.

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  113. I have been using another online note taking site, but I find that it is cumbersome and doesn't organize my notes and sources in a user friendly way. I'll check out OneNote. It has to better than what I'm using. I'm a career elementary teacher in my last year. Retirement is just a few months away. I look forward to spending my days researching and writing! Great post. Thank you, Pat.

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  114. I use Evernote, but I wish I knew how to use it more efficiently. I do get a little frustrated when I copy a note from Evernote into Scrivener, and then Scrivener just shows me the Evernote page that I then have to click on to be taken to the website. Clearly, I need to spend some time learning how to use this tool better!

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  115. I'm not resistant to change, it just takes me a while for some things...! I remember much better when I literally write notes, thoughts, ideas, etc. down on a pad or in a notebook--yes, me be old school! I have chosen to view a tutorial for the "research assistant", AppleNotes (iOS, madOS, Web). My prayer: help me, dear Lord, to understand and apply the knowledge and strategies! Amen!

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  116. Thank you for the OneNote suggestion - my Google Drive is a hot mess that feels impossible to organize at this point. Gradually moving to something like OneNote will most likely save my sanity. I've read Be Kind to all of my kinder, first and second grade students this year as part of our districts reading program - we love it. It's such a great example of how acts of kindness can mean the world to someone struggling. Thank you for all of the advice and encouragement you share with authors at all levels of writing!

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  117. I have digital files and notes and pictures. It's somewhat organized. I think I know where everything is. I hope. Maybe.

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  118. You are the second amazing NF author this week to recommend OneNote for corraling research etc., and when the universe speaks that loudly, I need to listen. I have purchased Scrivner, and even taken a webinar on it, but it still scares me too much to use. This looks so much more doable for me. Gonna give it a try...thanks!

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  119. I usually use google drive but I’m thinking I need to switch to One Note after reading this. Especially for the fear of losing the content at websites

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  120. Pat,
    Yes I needed this reminder to start using one of these note taking programs. Thank You for explaining how they work.
    Sue

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  121. I need to try this app! I just had an experience with research hording and I need to focus/organize. Thank you!

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  122. I use Evernote but I'm going to check out OneNote too.

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  123. I have used OneNote for work for years. I love it. I had no idea I could do things like handwriting to text! Thanks for inspiring me to learn more about it.

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  124. Hello Pat--thanks so much for this. I NEED a research assistant! I will be looking into OneNote very very soon. I hope you are doing well. Take care!

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  125. We could all use a research assistant. Thanks for sharing yours with us, Pat!

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  126. Pat, what an incredible tool! Great advise on choosing a focus before starting the research.

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