Read & Take Notes
Tutor: Part of developing your ideas will be to take notes on relevant information.
Student: What exactly do you mean by relevant information?
Tutor: I mean information that is important for your topic and related to your topic. For example, suppose that your topic is texting while driving. The traffic safety laws may be relevant. The instructions for making chocolate cake are probably not relevant.
Student: They might be relevant if someone was texting the recipe.
Tutor: Yes, in that case, they would be relevant!
Tutor: When you are taking notes, you need to write down just the information that will be important to you in writing your paper. Here is some detailed information on how to take notes.
Slide 3 — How to Take Good Notes
Write your notes on index cards, or…
…enter them into a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel.
Here is an example.
In your notes, be very careful to include all the information that you will need to cite later: name of the author, book or journal title, date, volume, page, numbers, publisher, etc.
In those places where your notes include exactly the same text as in the original, be sure to surround them with quotation marks so that later on, you will know who wrote them.
You may want to paraphrase as you take notes. In a “light paraphrase,” some of the text may still be very similar to the original. If something is only “lightly paraphrased,” make a note of this so you can paraphrase it more deeply before you include it in your paper.
The important point is to make it clear in your notes what is your writing and what was written by others.
As you take notes, you are probably starting to think of your own ideas about what you are reading. Include these in your notes. Mark your ideas with “MINE” so that later you will be able to tell the difference between your writing and that of other authors.
Keep the original sources (or copies) of the books and journals until you have finished with the paper. Then you will be able to make a final check to make sure that your citations are accurate.
You will find that good organization in the beginning can save you a lot of time in the end!
As you take notes, keep all these points in mind. You can view this demonstration at any time!
Student: OK, now I think I have a good idea about how to take notes.
Tutor: OK, great! Now that you have your notes, the next step is to figure out how to use other people’s ideas in your paper and how to do it in the correct way. Click on Using Others’ Ideas on the left.