Skip main navigation

Checklist: recording your findings

Every time you find a source which you believe may be useful for your research project, use this checklist of factors to record the information.
© University of Southampton
Before providing you with a brief introduction to the different types of sources that are available to you, we introduce you to a checklist of factors you should consider every time you find a source which you believe may be useful for your research project.
The checklist is available to download in either Microsoft Word of PDF formats from the bottom of the page
It is important that you capture and record this information.
  • Publication date – is it up to date? Are there newer sources of information available?
  • Who is the author? What is their background? Are they an expert on the subject? If so, have they produced any other materials you can access?
  • Contents – check the chapters to see if there are any that specifically relate to your topic (remember, you can legally photocopy one full chapter of a book [do not forget the endnotes and publication details when copying]
  • Index – check for any specific references to your key themes and terms
  • Intro/abstract/press release/executive summary – does it give a promising overview?
  • Scan the beginning and the conclusion to see if it seems to provide a valuable argument (There is an exercise in Week 5: Academic Reading on ‘Scanning for specific information’)
  • Note down reference information (e.g. name of author, title of text, place published, date published, pages used). If it is an online source make sure you record the URL and the date you accessed it. For more on why this is so important and how to use references, see Week 6: Referencing
Whatever your topic and research question you will need to find and select material from reliable sources to help you to build, support or challenge your hypothesis.
© University of Southampton
This article is from the free online

Developing Your Research Project

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education