How to Take Notes Effectively


Taking notes effectively for writing custom essays or custom research papers or for studying class notes can often be difficult for the student. Often this is a skill that is not taught in the classroom, but many teachers assume students know how to do this. The skill of note taking is learning how to analyze the material read.

There are two different ways to take notes: numbering different points or summarizing what has been read. Students often put these notes on 3" x 5" note cards or they put them in a loose-leaf binder. If you decide to use the 3" x 5" note cards be sure to have a note card with the quotes you plan to use and a note card with all the cited sources. If you use the loose-leaf binder be sure to take information about the notes and where the notes originated. Highlighting is another task that can make a difference when it comes to studying for tests or for specific information to be used in the college research paper.

One of the questions many students ask, "What should I write down?" The best answer to this is to write down anything that might be on the test or anything important to the thesis statement. Copy down any facts, statistics, and important information, but always write down the source, author, page, dates, and etc. Never quote anything without citing the information. Before you start doing research create an outline with the thesis statement and the main points. Find research material to support the thesis statement and each of the main points. Write down any facts or statistics that prove these points. Can you use any anecdotes from the material read to support these main points. Think about the outline while doing the research. Some students do not make the outline until after the research is completed. The next step would be to make an outline after the research.

Remember to get some contradictory information. What does the contradictory information proof about your thesis? Can you support your reasons why you disagree with any contradictory information?

Some students are tempted to get one source and custom-write their research paper using it, but this does not actually prove your thesis statement. In fact, it is more a review when using only one source. It is always better to get several articles, books, or other sources to support your research paper. Always use more than one source when writing a custom research paper. Use a variety of types of sources. Check the library for books, journal articles, magazine articles, and etc. What does the Internet say about the topic? The last step to taking notes for a research paper is to create a bibliography of all sources used.

Let's look at some more tips about note taking for research papers or dissertations. First, write the original quote down that will be used for the research paper. Make a photocopy of a page out of a book so you can take it home and practice paraphrasing the information. It is important to write down all the information about it such as the title of the book or article, name of the journal or magazine, page numbers, volume and index numbers, date of the article, and the author. Always be sure where you got a note or do not use it. It helps to label each note with the source so you do not become confused. Make all your notes readable. There is nothing worse than getting home from the library and not being able to read the notes.

A suggested way to begin note taking is to write down keywords about the topic. The next step is to paraphrase different sources while writing down all the information about the source. Check several types of sources about the topic. Write the notes clearly. Use statistics, facts, and any interesting anecdotes to support the main points. These steps should lead to a successful essay or research paper.

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