How does questions emerge and guide your research inside a Zettelkasten

When you are taking Permanent Notes in a Zettelkasten, you are also writing it to fit a context or a train of thought that exists inside the Zettelkasten. Every now and then you can try to assemble the notes you have already taken to develop a larger piece of writing.1 When you try to assemble this train of thought you will have an understanding of the information of what you have in your possession (in terms of understanding) now and opens up gaps of knowledge in your existing train of thoughts. These gaps of knowledge are questions that you will seek answers for, guiding which books or content you must consume to fill the gaps (provided those questions are interesting to you).

In Sonke’s perspective, you must never wait for an idea or train of thought to fully form before you start writing it down. Start writing the bigger pieces as early as you can so that it becomes the fodder for your further explorations.

Zettelkasten also paves way for planned “Serendipity”. As you are working with you collection of notes you can mix and match to see if some can be fit or it makes sense to connect any previously unconnected notes. Sometimes playing around with your notes like this can spark, new directions or completely novel creative insight that has the power to propel you research forward.

Return to Home Note

  1. Sonke Ahrens, How to Take Smart Notes 

Notes mentioning this note

Here are all the notes in this garden, along with their links, visualized as a graph.