Looking for tips for research workflow

edited March 18, 2020
Hi guys,

I am looking to improve my reading and writing synergy and efficiency. What are common workflows for doing research, ex. Lit. Review.

I read
some people like to highlight and annotate
some people like to create a matrix with citations, excerpts, and personal thoughts
some people like to write for notes for each paper

I am contemplating several approaches. In the past, I thought I would highlight directly in PDFs and then extract notes. This way I would have many individual notes to put together. Not a bad way I guess. Might get messy, when dealing with 30+ sources.

Or instead of highlighting in PDFs in order to extract, I can create a standalone note in the folder or tag by topic. In it, I can put all excerpts and links to them with personal thoughts.

But now I am thinking, instead of making a standalone note I can do it all in the Word document which will save me transcribing from a standalone note to it, removing a step. I can insert and colour code excerpts into my word document (the actual work), with links to Zotero, and personal thoughts in normal black font or as a comment. This way I can start amassing information right in the document. This will make it easy for me to move around the content into headings and subheadings directly, instead of making a note to do it. Also if I decide to discard something, I can without having wasted time on paraphrasing. At the end I can just follow the Zotero links and add in citations.

The only worry is that scholars recommend keeping notes long term and this workflow does not really do that as it is centered in Word.

What do you think guys? What's your workflow? How do you simplify?

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