Posted by: nancyisanders | September 27, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Research Code


In the photo above of my research journal for Jane Austen for Kids, you can see some of my favorite research books, along with the secret code I created for each one.


In this photo above, you can see the notes I took about Jane’s character. Since my entire book would be about her life, I decided to just do a section here on her CHARACTER, her personality, and her faith.

Typically, what I did, was I sat down in a comfy chair. I held my research journal in my lap. I held my research book in my hands (some books were on my iPad Kindle).

As I read my research book, I’d just down a note.

For example, I discovered Jane had a “keen sense of humour.” So I wrote that down. Next to it, I also wrote down the secret code for the research book I was reading: MEM.

And next to that I wrote down the page number of that book: 88

As you can see, my entry looked like this:

MEM88 keen sense of humour

I didn’t have to write down the entire title of the book…the code keeps my notetaking much simpler and quicker.

And if I find more than one source that says the same thing, I can easily add that code and page number to back it up. I hardly need any extra space.

I can’t tell you how much using this method of research makes my life as a nonfiction writer so much easier in so many countless ways! I hope you try it and find it helpful too!


  1. Thanks for sharing this. I do something similar, and then add that to an end note in my working draft so I can quickly double check a quote or fact.

    • What a great use! Thanks for sharing!!!

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