Newbie's guide to using Scrivener while researching?

Hi all,
Just updated Scrivener and am learning it for the first time as I’m starting on my first published book, a biography for which I’ll be doing a ton of research. I’ve been Googling and searching here and haven’t found what I (think I) need.

Scenario: I am reading a book written by my subject. Old-school me would take notes on index cards, with topics at the top to help me find them later. The notes would have source and page numbers on them. I’d end up with thousands of index cards.

Is there a handy guide somewhere telling me how to transfer this process to Scrivener – especially the part where I can ‘tag’ notes by subject? Preferably at the lowest level of abstraction, eg ‘when you find something you want to note, go to ___ in Scrivener and ___.’

If you tell me to go read the manual cover to cover, I’ll do that too.

My approach is not that different:

  • Create a document with a name that ties back to the source, Smith2019, say. (Project -> New Text) For a book, you might have one “notes” document per chapter or major section, Smith2019_Ch1.

  • Optional: include a full citation in the Document Notes field.

  • Take notes in that document. Include source page numbers and so on as needed.

  • If you want to split the notes document into pieces by topic, do so. (Documents -> Split) The child documents will inherit their parent’s title and metadata, which you can then change as needed.

  • Assign keywords as needed. (Project -> Show Project Keywords)


PS If you haven’t already, please review the Interactive Tutorial project, available from the Help menu. Among other things, it will introduce the names for the parts of the Scrivener interface, so the advice you get will make more sense.

A very belated thank you, Katherine!

There are several really good books on how to use Scrivener.
For me “Take Control of Scrivener 3” is the one that has helped me the most.