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*Last updated on 17 Jan 2011.
Effective use of Notes
Good note taking, particularly in the early stages of your studying, can greatly contribute to excellent test results. Naturally, compiled notes that are organised reflect clarity, which makes it easier for you to review.
Good note-taking begins with having a set structure in taking down notes. Learning Skills recommends this format, click here to open the .pdf
Notes and guide adapted from material prepared by The Learning Centre, University of New South Wales, 2002.
Writing Effective Notes
1. Bibliographic Details
Write down all the necessary bibliographic details of the book or source, to save you from having to chase these at the last moment. Get into the habit of recording these, on paper and on your electronic Reference List, as a first step in your research.
2. Notes from the Text
These notes arise directly from your reading. They include:
- direct quotations, which will be clearly marked with inverted commas.
In a direct quotation, you must record all the details of the text exactly.
- paraphrased material. To paraphrase means to re-write somebody else's ideas in your own words. A paraphrase will use approximately the same number of words, and may involve changing the order of ideas and grammatical structure of the text.
- summary notes, presenting the substance of a passage in condensed form
3. Page Numbers (and other reference points)
These are essential when referring to material in your essay.
4. Comments about the Text
These are a critical part of your preparation for your writing task. You will ask yourself questions including:
- how does this relate to other books and articles you've read?
- what are the links with other ideas and writers?
- how do you assess the value of this material?
- what are its strengths, weaknesses and omissions?
- is this contradicted elsewhere?
- what details do I need to check elsewhere?
- What do I need to follow up?
- is there anything new here? Or has it all been said before?