How to Write a Source Card

Sometimes the most frustrating part of writing a class paper is organizing your research. It can be easy to lose track of your sources, the authors, and the pages you used. If this is the case, writing source cards may be the solution to your problem. By noting your sources' pertinent information as you go, you will make the task of creating footnotes and works-cited pages less tedious.

Step 1

Purchase a quantity of three-by-five index cards. Index cards are ideal as they are sturdy and easy to transport, although scrap paper will do in a pinch.

Step 2

Number the upper-right-hand side of each card. This will enable you to keep your sources in order, as well as to conveniently cite your sources in your notes and outline.

Step 3

Ask which style guide you will need to adhere to for your paper. This information is useful when formatting your source.

Step 4

Write down your source's information. This includes the author(s) and editor(s), title, place and date of publication, journal or website title, URLs and date of retrieval. Note the page numbers you referred to, if applicable. Format your cards in the citation format your instructor has asked you to use.

Step 5

Note where you obtained the source at the bottom of the card for your reference later, such as the name of the library or article database.