THE ART OF TAKING NOTES
Students often skip this step. They print out journal articles and information from the Internet. Then they frantically flip through this pile of paper while balancing a stack of books on their lap. They try to remember where they read this and who said that. There must be a better way! Of course, there is. Carefully taken, organized notes will save you from all that frustration.
Tips for Note Taking
- Keep a running list of your sources, with complete bibliographic information.
- Decide on a method for taking notes:
- Index cards work well - stick to one point per card, group cards with similar information, arrange in order according to outline
- If you prefer to type your notes into a Word document, organize your notes in a similar way, inserting notes in the proper order as you go along.
- Create notecards in NoodleTools as an easy way to keep track of where you found your information.
- As you take notes, document where you found every bit of information, including page numbers. One way to do this is to number each source as you add it to your list, then jot this number down next to any notes you take from it.
- Highlight information in your printouts (not in books, of course) as you read it. Then refer to the highlighted areas when taking notes.
- Take notes as you are reading from print sources. Don't forget to note the page number and source.
- When you are taking notes, try to use your own words to briefly capture the basic meaning or facts.
- Copy information word for word only if you are planning to use it as a direct quote. Then clearly mark it as such.
- Likewise, you can label information paraphrased from a source..
- You might even want to indicate which notes are your own original thoughts. Otherwise, as time goes on, and you jot down more and more notes, you may forget which is which.
- Consult your outline often, revise it if you need to, making sure you have research to support all your points.
For more advise on best practices in note-taking, consult Purdue OWL Safe Practices page.
Don't take too many notes
Stick to things that are relevant.
Take enough notes
Don't rely on your memory.