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This Is Auburn Auburn University Libraries LibGuides

Auburn High School IB Guide

A guide for high school students visiting AUL, about finding sources and getting started with research.

Organizing Research

When you are doing research, it is important to keep your sources and your thoughts clearly organized, so you are able to return to them later. Individual methods of organization may vary, but here are some general tips:

  • Organize Your Files. Keep all your materials relating to a project together, in a designated file on your computer or in the cloud, not just in your downloads folder.
  • Rename Your Downloads. Finding content again later will be easier if you name files with something searchable, such as author names, titles, and/or dates.
  • Label Your Notes. When you write notes about a source, make sure to include information about where that source can be found, such as the author, date, and page number. That way, when you write your final paper, you can quickly refer to your notes rather than tracking the source back down.
  • Work From an Outline. Use an outline to guide you paragraph-by-paragraph. You can also include your sources in your outline, so you know what material is supporting which parts of your argument. This can also help you spot gaps in your argument, or areas that need more support from sources.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism occurs when you take credit for someone else's work, passing off their ideas as your own. One easy way to avoid plagiarism is to cite your sources, or tell your reader where you are getting your information.

A citation is a brief snapshot of information about where you found your source and who originally produced it. Citations usually appear in the text of your paper as footnotes or snippets in parentheses with brief information, with fuller details at the end of the paper in a references or works cited list.

Remember, scholarship is a conversation: by citing your sources, you help your readers understand how you are building on what other writers have said before, and how you are moving that conversation forward.

Managing Citations

If you are working with a lot of sources, it can be helpful to use software to help you collect, export, and format citations. This software, called a citation manager, helps you keep track of your sources, and when it is time to format your bibliography and in-text citations, a citation manager will save you a lot of time!