How authors organize their notes will differ across the keyboard. The information that goes into those notes will likely come from numerous sources and media.
You could be watching a show on Al Jazeera and a segment will cause you to grab a pen and paper and write an excerpt of what is being said. You’re surfing your social media feeds and see a number of links to bookmark to read later and cull nuggets from. You have physical and ebooks on the topic. You also set up interviews.
Because for everyone, researching a book is individually different, an author may want to do interviews only, all up front, or wait until all the physical research is put into chapters then use the interviews to fill in the gaps.
The latter is how I work, for the most part.
For my latest book with Self-Counsel Press, much of my research was organized into chapters, and some of it had already been penned for publishing. I decided I needed some interviews to fill in the gaps or add value to what I already had.
I am not a telephone person, and face-to-face is not feasible with my subjects located in the Netherlands, Malta, Miami, and Phoenix…although, when I look outside my window, it would have been a nice diversion from four feet of snow. Long distance telephone charges are unnecessary with Skype and Google handy, and besides, unless one has an intercom or the ability to record the interview while being on the phone, it’s not an ideal tool. For many interviews, especially all my Hockey Canada interviews the past year and a half, I use Skype. It’s free, you can still be face-to-face, and you can have it air through your speakers to record with a digital recorder. You may be able to record off your device or computer, but ALWAYS have a backup plan — and the digital recorder is it.
When it comes to technology, what can go wrong will go wrong.
I did manage a Hangout with my next two interviews — with Cynthia Seymour and Aliya Leigh, which I also converted (from the YouTube link) to an MP3, which is easier to transcribe from. Know this about transcribing: for every hour of interview, it takes two to subscribe. I like doing it myself because it reinforces the interview material. That, too, can vary from author to author.