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Source Cards

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 8 months ago

How to Create Source Cards


Research Paper


Essential Question:


How do I create source cards for the sources I'm using?





Last year when I taught the research paper, I gave my students a handout on how to create source cards for future use in a Works Cited page, but I discovered that it wasn't enough. I think they need to be shown, and not told.


Students will most likely need to learn how to cite a book, an article from a database, a website, and article from a volume of literary criticism (such as Novels for Students or Masterplots).


To be frank, I have had difficulty in the past trying to figure out exactly what kind of source references such as Novels for Students are. I did some digging and found that most people categorize such references as "journal articles republished from a multi-volume reference series" or as a "republished journal essay." Recommendations for citing such sources can be found here (scroll down).




  1. Create several fake sources. Make at least one book, one datebase article, one website, and one article from a volume of literary criticism.
    1. Use student names as the authors of your fake sources. Be creative in making up the rest of the source. An example would be: Huff, Dana. __I Have the Best Students__. Atlanta: English Teacher Press, 2005.
    2. Gear the titles of your fake sources to student interests. For example, several years back, I taught a young lady who loved soap operas. I made her the fictitious writer of an article on soap operas.
  2. Walk students through creating a few source cards for each major kind of source they will use.
  3. Evaluate student understanding of creating source cards -- give students the information they will need to construct the entry and have them look up how to put together the citation for the source card. For example:*
    1. You found a website called "Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) Home Page."
    2. The URL is http://www.eldritchpress.org/nh/hawthorne.html.
    3. It was last updated on November 13, 2002.
    4. You accessed it on November 15, 2005.
    5. The site's author is Eric Eldred.
    6. It is affiliated with an organization called "Eldritch Press."
  4. Students should use the resources to find out how to construct the works cited entry for their source card. If you do not have the resources above (or do not have access to them), any reputable reference for MLA documentation is acceptable.
  5. You might even turn it into a game and award the first student to get the works cited entry created correctly a piece of candy. Alternatively, you could create a quiz or worksheet to assess student understanding of how to do this.
  6. Instruct students to begin creating source cards for sources they have located on their own topics. This may be homework, or if you can arrange to use the library or computer lab (depending on the sources), you can segue right into this activity. For instance, I will be bringing in a large collection of our library's literary criticism so students can begin creating source cards for possible sources.
  7. Make sure students put a letter on the top of each source card. For example, source card A could refer to the above website, and when students take down notes on note cards, they can just write "A" at the top of the note card. If the source has pages, it would be "A 34," for instance.


*This source is correctly cited:


Eldred, Eric. "Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) Home Page." 13 Nov 2002. __Eldritch Press__. 15 Nov 2005. <http://www.eldritchpress.org/nh/hawthorne.html>.

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