Use Diigo To Help Write Your Next College Essay or Term Paper

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how to write a college essayWe have already covered why Diigo, a web bookmarking and annotation service, is a powerful tool for managing bookmarks, but why stop there?  Diigo can be a very useful tool for helping you to write a college essay or research paper.

Since the Internet is a tool that most students use to do research, and since most research papers are based on quotes used from various sources, Diigo provides a way to not only bookmark your sources, but also to manage and access your quotes, notes, and analysis.

The following are some suggested guidelines for using Diigo.

Step 1: Determine Your Thesis

The best way to do research is know what your thesis is for a given topic. So if you’re writing a controversial issue paper on gun laws or gun control in the U.S., you will want to develop your opinion about a particular aspect of the issue.

Having a thesis in mind can help you narrow research, even if you change your thesis during the process.

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Step 2: Using Diigo Tools

Before the Internet and Google, research papers were done using reading material in the library and note cards for recording and managing quotes and analysis. The content of the note cards were in turn used to write the paper. Diigo’s highlighting tools and your Diigo library can serve as your note cards.

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Before you start doing research using Internet resources, open your Diigo account/library and create a list for your topic. This list will be used to manage all your bookmarks and highlights. This management tool will save you lots of time and provide you with a way to access your research from any computer.

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If you have never used Diigo before, you will want to open a free account and install the Diigo bookmarklet, or diigolet, in your favorite web browser (click on the Tools icon on the Diigo homepage to get instructions for setting up a bookmarklet for the browser you use).

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Using the Diigo toolbar, you can easily bookmark and annotate sources just as you do with paper documents.

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You might consider color coding your highlights, e.g., yellow for quotes that support your thesis, and green for quotes that are against your thesis.

Step 3: Using Your Highlights & Notes

As you do your research using Diigo, you will of course find all your bookmarks, highlights, and notes saved to your Diigo library and list page. Your list page even has a permanent URL, which means you can access it directly.

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With your page open, you can simply copy and paste your quotes as you write your paper. Since the URLs for your sources are also saved, they can be easily put into the bibliography in your research paper.

If you’re working on a group research project, Diigo can be used for the same purpose. Simply create a group for which everyone can bookmark sources to.

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If you are a student, let us know if this is a good idea for doing Internet-based research. Also please share other online tools that you use to get papers written.

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