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how to keep research articles organized

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by NPSpear NPSpear (New Member) New Member Nurse

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Between my work,  school (earning my DNP) and general curiosity, I find myself printing and saving research articles so I can reference them at a later date. The trouble is, I haven't found a way to keep them organized so that when the later date comes I can find them. My piles keep growing and I'm afraid it will be wasted time and energy in the end. Does anyone have any tips for how they keep articles and such organized? 

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1 Article; 21 Posts; 1,359 Profile Views

I save my articles to specific folders on my computer rather than printing them off because I find that easier to navigate. I have a large folder for my DNP project and then put articles in individual folders within that DNP folder based on the specific topic. I also put the last name of the first author after the title when I save it so that helps me keep track of articles better as I am writing my DNP paper and referencing each article by author name. The nice thing about not printing the articles off is that I can search by title or author on the computer and I can search for certain words within the article as well, which makes research much easier. If you do prefer to print off articles, I would recommend putting them in binders and using tabs to separate by topic. 

Hope that helps a little! Ultimately, you just have to figure out a system that works best for you and stick with it.

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2 Posts; 41 Profile Views

11 hours ago, RNtoNNP said:

I save my articles to specific folders on my computer rather than printing them off because I find that easier to navigate. I have a large folder for my DNP project and then put articles in individual folders within that DNP folder based on the specific topic. I also put the last name of the first author after the title when I save it so that helps me keep track of articles better as I am writing my DNP paper and referencing each article by author name. The nice thing about not printing the articles off is that I can search by title or author on the computer and I can search for certain words within the article as well, which makes research much easier. If you do prefer to print off articles, I would recommend putting them in binders and using tabs to separate by topic. 

Hope that helps a little! Ultimately, you just have to figure out a system that works best for you and stick with it.

Thank you! I like the idea of organizing by topic in either system. I appreciate your input. 

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TiffyRN has 26 years experience as a ADN, BSN and specializes in NICU.

2,254 Posts; 15,714 Profile Views

I have been working on my BSN to PhD for 4 years now and I use a system almost identical to RNtoNNP. I generally keep articles in a subfolder for each course I'm in which roughly equals their topic as I tend to have only one major topic per course. I save each article as a computer file, writing out the first author's name in all caps followed by the name of the article, for example: 

SMITH-Article organization for the beginning researcher

When I shift out of school mode, I imagine I'll keep similar folders but by specific topic like maternal-fetal, or professional issues. There is definitely a place for printing off an article but in general, I like them kept as PDF files on my computer with occasional back ups to a thumb drive (as well as an online cloud backup). 

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