Three Electronic Note Taking Tools (Microsoft Word, EndNote, Zotero)

When taking notes, it is important to be accurate and organized with the information you record. The main benefits of using electronic note taking tools are that paper is conserved and searching is facilitated. Using a computer is also suggested when taking extensive notes for large research projects. Below are three note taking tools that work very well for most extensive projects.

Use MS Word as one of your note taking tools.

Take notes using MS Word

Using Microsoft Word

  • Open a new document for each new source.
  • Type the source’s bibliographic information at the top of the page. Also, type the author’s last name, and keywords from the title in the page’s header.
  • Type a one-paragraph summary of the source using your own words.
  • Type key quotes and paraphrases. I use bullet points for each new piece of information. Record the page number.
  • Save using the header keywords.
  • Don’t forget to list personal reflections, questions to follow up on, and reactions. Do distinguish between your own thoughts and the authors. I use the highlighting pen. This way, my own interjections pop out on the page. This is useful if there were thoughts you wanted to follow up on.

Using EndNote Bibliography Software

If research is a regular part of your job description, you may wish to invest in bibliography software like EndNote (Affiliate Link). This program aimed at the academic community tracks all of the bibliographic information, call number information, and notes for your project. You can categorize sources for easy searching and retrieval. If you use this program in conjunction with a meticulous filing system, you can easily find that important document when you need it. EndNote imports bibliographic information into Microsoft Word when you are ready to write your paper.

Using Zotero

Zotero is one of the free note taking tools available.


Zotero is another useful note-taking tool. It plugs directly into Mozilla Firefox. This program is especially helpful if you perform a lot of internet research. It allows you to take a snapshot of the page, or store that JSTOR file you might need later, categorize your sources, and import bibliographic information into Microsoft Word. It allows you also to store your notes and personal thoughts with the document itself. Zotero is open-source software.

Which note taking tools do you use?

The important thing when taking-notes during the research phase of a writing project is to be consistent and organized. One of the services offered by W.R.E. Consulting Services involves assistance with organizating research efforts. For more information on this services and whether it could be useful for your project, contact me directly.

Have You Seen These Tips on High-Impact Writing?

High-Impact Writing TipsHave you ever felt like you need to create writing that makes more of an impression on your readers? Over at ProBlogger, a guest writer shared 30 High-Impact Ways to Level Up Your Writing. It’s a great article with a lot of good tips, and it’s worth checking out for anyone who wants to create high-impact writing that gets more results.

My Favorite High-Impact Writing Tips

One of the best tips in the post is to visualize that you’re at a coffee shop with your reader. You’re sitting there, explaining the topic to your pal in a way he or she can relate to. You smile, you sip your coffee, and when things are really important, you add emphasis with your voice and your gesture. You can do the same thing in your writing; create bullet points to emphasize a list, italicize words to stress them, and add the odd anecdote or two to keep your reader engaged.

A second great tip shared in the article is the suggestion to print your written work out. By doing so, and reading it out loud, you will likely catch more mistakes than you would otherwise notice on the screen. Before I send my written work out to my clients, I always print it out for one last once-over. This allows me to be sure that the content I’ve provided is free from errors and that the writing flows well.

Consider Hiring an Editor

The post’s author also suggests hiring an editor to glance through your work. This is a wonderful idea, as an editor will catch mistakes that you didn’t catch. If you’re writing an article for publication, a brochure, or a book, this will be especially important. Yes, I said brochure. Today, I saw a grammatical error in a catalog (“mom’s” was printed instead of “moms”). An editor’s eye for detail would have helped to prevent this error, thus presenting a more professional appearance.

There are also some great notes in the comments section about making sure you fill in the blanks for your reader. This is important to consider when you’re aiming for high-impact writing. You can’t assume your reader will know what you’re talking about. In fact, an editor can help you ensure that you don’t leave your readers confused in places where you think something is obvious, but where it really isn’t obvious. The article and comments are definitely worth taking a look at if you want to supercharge your written projects with high-impact writing.

What is your favorite tip from the article? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
For help with editing your blog posts, brochure, article, book or other written content, please contact me at today.

How to Write a Précis

English: Bust of Socrates in the Vatican Museum

English: Bust of Socrates in the Vatican Museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes professors (or bosses) request that you write a précis on some book or journal article. When I first started graduate school, I wasn’t sure how to write a précis. By the time I left, I found the short summary paper to be an incredibly helpful tool for studying for comps and preparing for seminar classes. Below you will find step-by-step instructions for writing a successful précis for class (or work).

  1. The very first step in writing a précis is reading the reference material carefully. While reading you’ll want to note the main argument and any supporting material. You will want to read the article or book multiple times. You should be able to summarize what you read without leaving out any part of the argument.
  2. State the main argument of the article or book that you read.
  3. Lay out the supporting premises. A premise is a statement in support of the main argument. For example in the argument, “All men are mortal. Socrates is a Man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal,” the statements “all men are mortal” and “Socrates is a Man” are both premises.
  4. If there are any key terms in the article or book, make sure that they are defined in your précis.
  5. If the article or book is scientific in nature or discusses any kind of experimentation or survey data results, discuss the methodology the author uses.
  6. Make sure any results are spelled out clearly for the reader.
  7. Make sure you indicate why this particular body of research was important.

A précis, strictly speaking, will not include your own opinions about the work. Instead, it is succinctly summarizing the work, the research that went into the work, the conclusions of the work, and why the work is important. It is an outstanding tool for studying from because the process of creating it ensures that you won’t soon forget what you read. It also makes it easy, when conducting large research projects, to locate what book had just that argument you’re looking to cite.

For information involving writing a précis for fictional works, you may want to view the article, “How to Write a Précis” on Jason Bowman’s blog.

Happy New Year!

Yes, I’m a few days late with my New Year’s greeting, but I’m happy to say that I’m looking forward to everything that 2016 has to offer! Our new little guy is here, born last month making our family of four a family of five, and I’m ready to take on clients part time. If you or someone you know needs writing, research, or editing help, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send an email to

If you haven’t had a chance to already, please check out the GoFundMe campaign for J.B. Dondolo’s Hospital Hope project. We’re trying to get a new water system put in there.

The new issue of Equanimity Magazine is out. Read about Teen Wolf’s Cory Saintgnue, the Peanuts Movie’s Rebecca Bloom, and Ben Lecomte’s coming journey across the Pacific Ocean.

I’ve been guest posting about sewing over at BWD Fabrics. Be sure to check their site out if you’re interested in sewing and crafts.

I’ve completed some more content writing for company websites including Mason’s Small Engine Repair and Cumberland Ace Hardware.

I edited a client’s abstract for a philosophy journal submission.

I’m looking forward to helping you make your dreams come true in 2016! How can I help you do it? Contact me today to get started on your project.


Maternity Leave


Thank you for stopping by. I am on maternity leave from 12/16/15 until further notice. I will announce the date that I will begin taking clients again around the first of the year.

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Ronda Bowen!