Material for Research and Writing:
For further suggestions on acquiring, organizing and presenting information with electronic tools see: T. C. Weiskel, "From Research to Writing:Accessing, Organizing and Presenting Evidence in the Electronic Age" (Environment Program, video lecture + PDF Slides - 18 March 2007). This lecture is designed as a supplement to George E. Clark's lecture (accessible above) on how to access research resources through the Harvard OnLine Library Information System (HOLLIS) Catalogue.
We (strongly) recommend that you begin your research and sustain it throughout your time at Harvard with the use of an online, electronic notetaking system. This is particularly true if you are undertaking graduate work for credit with the thought of finishing a thesis for the Master's program.
Several different electronic notetaking software packages are available, and we have no particular recommendation for any one of them -- except to say, perhaps, that we are most familiar with EndNote(TM), published by the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI). The software program has different versions that can work on either a PC or a MAC platform, and it is integrated for ease of use with MicroSoft's Word program. Furthermore, it is available at a student rate of $99.00 with your Harvard ID. Further, online teaching routines are available detailing the main features of the software, and Harvard Reference librarians are generally quite well informed about its use. This means that they can frequently give you pointers or advice on the program's usage if you have difficulties getting started.
To help you think further about how to conduct documentary research and take electronic notes, two further lectures have been presented for your consultation, if you find them of use:
To see what is involved you can view several of the training modules you can go directly to the EndNote website tutorials. Or you can 'attend' (ie. take part in) and impressive array of free online 'webinars' with EndNote instructors and users. Further, an online user guide to get started -- EndNote X1 - Bibliographies Made Easy -- is available as well.
Concerning specific suggestions for your Prospectus and research papers, you may wish to consult the guidelines provided by Tracy Stamos on what the "Prospectus" is expected to include. In addition, you can see a selected list of topics that have been served as the subject of research papers in the past to get a basic idea of the range of topics covered.
For those interested in seeing an example of a Prospectus and a finished research paper, you may wish to look at these examples, contributed by a student (Suzanne Farvar) who completed the course last year with very good grades for very strong work throughout the course.