Work sheets: what they are, what they are for, parts, and types

Work sheets: what they are

Throughout our lives we will probably have to conduct more than one investigation of some kind. Whether at work or in academia, it is common for us to have to work with high levels of information to document ourselves in order to carry out a task , or to have to carry out some complex action or project.

In this sense, it is likely to be useful for us to be able to retrieve the key ideas or concepts. Thus, it would not be a bad idea to generate some kind of brief document in which we can synthesize the information or idea we are working on in a quick and easily accessible way. One way to do this is to create worksheets , a concept that we will explore in depth along these lines.

What is a job ticket?

A work sheet is a highly organized, short document summarizing the most relevant information on a project or research , in order to keep a record of the key elements for understanding this study or the documents generated.

They are usually made in small rectangular cardboards, although nowadays it is also very common to find them in digital format.

The use of worksheets allows the information to be collected and at the same time to relate the most important concepts and ideas with respect to the topic being dealt with , expressed in a clear and concise manner and in such a way as to allow for their rapid recovery in times of need. It is also useful for maintaining an orderly presentation of information.

It is important to bear in mind that only one main idea is expressed in each worksheet: it is not a question of presenting all the research, but in any case a summary, idea or list of the most necessary concepts for the user. In fact, it is common to find that for the same work or project numerous worksheets are used , depending on what type of information we want to retrieve later.

What’s it for?

The use of these types of cards can serve multiple purposes: are common in public exhibitions, lectures and communications as well as for maintaining an order of the main ideas in reports, databases and in the preparation of extensive documents.

Finally, they are useful even when studying for an exam, since the synthesis of information allows a quick review of the main ideas and the relationship between them of the material studied.

Parts and main structure

Producing a worksheet is simple, and can be done in a number of ways, but generally follows a basic structure that includes the following sections.

1. Author and date of publication

If the card in question is part of a paper, research, paper or document, the authors of the paper must be cited first .

The way to do this is identical to when we quote an author or authors in an investigation: last name and initial, separated by a comma and if there are several also separated by commas. Later, the year of publication is added in parentheses, on the same line.

This aspect may seem irrelevant, but the truth is that it is important to know where the information comes from and in case of working with multiple documents it may be easier to locate where we have started from to make the file.

2. Title

Placed below the previous point, the title is one of the main parts of the worksheet . It must allow us to see quickly and clearly the subject matter we are dealing with, encompassing the ideas to be worked on.

It will usually be the title of the article or book chapter we start from, although it can also be a title chosen by us. This section, together with the previous one, would form the heading of the file.

3. Body

The body or content of the file is the set of information that we collect: the summary, the list of ideas or the conclusion drawn from the research .

It must be clear and understandable, so that we do not need to resort to other elements or information beyond what is present on the card. It can be either a writing or an outline, or even pictorial elements.

4. Other information/references

It is necessary to add the publisher or magazine where it was published, the city and the pages from which the information is extracted . The key references of the research should also be incorporated, in this case at the bottom of the sheet (especially in summary or synthesis sheets). Sometimes, the reason for which the sheet in question is prepared is also added.

Types of worksheets

So far we have talked about what a worksheet is and what parts it has (usually). However, not all worksheets are used for the same thing and do not have the same contents: there are different types of these documents . Among the most common are the following.

1. Text sheets

A simple type of worksheet in which only a sentence or a short fragment of the original work from which we started is transcribed, with the same language and words as in the original. The fragment that interests us is copied, in quotation marks.

2. Paraphrase cards

This type of worksheet is very similar to the previous one, except that in this case instead of literally transcribing a fragment of the text we try to express what we have understood of it in our own words .

3. Summary/Synthesis sheets

This type of file is characterised by the fact that it is prepared in order to obtain a brief summary of the article, research, book or chapter being analysed . The aim is to be able to understand in a general way what the research or analysis is about.

First the central ideas must be put and then the secondary ideas that are linked to this and/or examples. Technically, the summary sheet basically looks for the key ideas while the summary sheets try to provide a shorter version of the whole text, but they are roughly used in the same way.

4. Analysis sheet

As in the paraphrase card, in this case we also work through our own words what we have understood. However, the content is not a reflection of the work from which we started, but our personal analysis or conclusions about it .

It is not necessary to include in this case the studies from which we start, since the content of the card is exclusively ours.

5. Terminology table sheets

The content of these cards is a table in which the main concepts of the analyzed text are defined .

6. Problem question sheets

In this type of worksheet the body is intended to serve as a point at which to elaborate and answer the questions or problems that the research has allowed to be unraveled.

7. Field research sheets

Sometimes we will want to make a card that does not talk about information present in texts, but perhaps the product of an experiment designed by ourselves or of an interview. In this case we will use the field research form, in which we will summarize the information from the results of the experiment or the interview conducted .

In this type of file, the header should include the person interviewed, the date of the interview/experience and the point at which this information will be used.

8. Mixed sheets

It is a combination of some of the above. Probably one of the most common is that it includes the summary or synthesis and analysis, or the text card and the paraphrase or analysis.

Bibliographic references

  • Lopez O., K. How to elaborate worksheets. Online] Available at: http://profecarlostextos.tripod.com/fichas_trabajo.html.
  • Latin American Technological University Online. Work sheets. [Online]. Available at: http://gc.initelabs.com/recursos/files/r162r/w18147w/Evidencia_Ficha%20de%20trabajo.pdf.

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