Incorporating Research

Once you have accessed your materials, you need to record the relevant information from the sources before you begin writing your paper or presentation.

Using index cards is an effective way to record and organize research. You can try online index cards available through a free trial or subscription from Noodle Tools or you can purchase a set of blank index cards from an office supply store.

You will create two sets of cards: note cards and source cards. 

  • You will need one note card per quotation or paraphrase.  Record the idea in the middle of the card. At the top of the card you will enter where the quotation fits in your outline.  And, at the bottom of the card you will write down source information such as title, author and page number. This information will be used to create your in-text citations. Consistently record information in the same place to make it easier to find during the writing process.
  • On each source card record the publishing and retrieval information for each source.  Be sure the information is accurate!  You will use this information for creating your reference page.

Organize the note cards according to your outline. Follow the order of the note cards when drafting your paper to maintain your focus. There are two ways of correctly incorporating research into your writing, quoting and paraphrasing:


Copying a quotation word-for-word from a source, putting quotation marks around it and crediting the source in your writing.


  • "In December 2007, Health Canada placed three lots of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine on hold while the Department investigated five suspected cases of anaphylaxis in Alberta patients who had received vaccine from these lots."

    MacDonald, N., & Pickering, L. (2009, November 20). Canada's eight-step vaccine safety program: Vaccine literacy. Paediatric Child Health, 14(9), 605-608. Retrieved from


Putting someone else's ideas into your own words and giving credit to the source in your writing.


  • "Canada, the United States and many other countries share their data on adverse events following immunization and signal detection with the World Health Organization that gathers data on vaccine adverse events from around the world. The World Health Organization created the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety in 1999 to respond to vaccine safety issues of potential global importance in a prompt, efficient and scientifically rigorous manner (16)."


  • According to the Canadian Paediatric Society, in the event of death or serious side effects from vaccination, Canada reports the incident to the World Health Organization who has a special committee to respond to vaccination issues that are determined to be of large-scale concern.

    MacDonald, N., & Pickering, L. (2009, November 20). Canada's eight-step vaccine safety program: Vaccine literacy. Paediatric Child Health, 14(9), 605-608. Retrieved from


Information that is not correctly incorporated into your writing could be considered plagiarism.  Acadia University has a tutorial called, "You Quote It, You Note It!" The interactive tutorial will help you understand the difference between quoting, paraphrasing and how to avoid plagiarism when incorporating research.

Plagiarism in the most obvious form is copying something word-for-word and failing to give credit to the source.  However, there are some much more subtle forms of plagiarism that students sometimes unintentionally encounter, such as copying the style of a writer, switching a few words in a sentence while paraphrasing or re-using a paper.  How much do you know about plagiarism?  Test your personal knowledge of the issue by exploring the following 20 questions with The Plagiarism Self-Assessment.

Do you need to know more?

Plagiarism is serious. When in doubt, always cite your source!  And, do not hesitate to ask for help from your instructor or librarian if you are feeling uneasy.