_What are permanent notes

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Permanent notes are the third type of note, and make up the long-term knowledge that give the slip-box its value.

This step starts with looking through the first two kinds of notes that you’ve created: fleeting notes and literature notes. Ahrens recommends doing this about once a day, before you completely forget what they contain.

As you go through them, think about how they relate to your research, current thinking, or interests. The goal is not just to collect ideas, but to develop arguments and discussions over time. If you need help jogging your memory, simply look at the existing topics in your slip-box, since it already contains only things that interest you. 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you turn fleeting and literature notes into permanent notes:

  • How does the new information contradict, correct, support, or add to what I already know?
  • How can I combine ideas to generate something new?
  • What questions are triggered by these new ideas?

As answers to these questions come to mind, write down each new idea, comment, or thought on its own note. If writing on paper, only write on one side, so you can quickly review your notes without having to flip them over.

Write these permanent notes as if you are writing for someone else. That is, use full sentences, disclose your sources, make explicit references, and try to be as precise and brief as possible. 

Once this step is done, throw away (or delete) the fleeting notes from step one and file the literature notes from step two into your bibliographic slip-box.

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