As you develop your understanding of the text and your responses to it, you will want to keep track of the ideas that emerge and how they relate to the paper you are writing. Make note of the relevant ideas from the text and your thoughts about them in your own words. These notes will be valuable in writing the first draft of your assignment. See the Gathering & Noting Ideas module for more information.

Some strategies for recording ideas include:

  • highlighting key passages (only in texts you own)
  • writing in the margins your reactions to the material and how it relates to your assignment (only in texts that you own)
  • making separate notes to capture your own ideas and record relevant passages
  • using online mechanisms for notating electronic documents

Your notes serve primarily as a summary or synthesis of main ideas, a starting point for future reference and reflection, and a way back into the reading for key quotes or concepts. Be sure to note the source, including page numbers of ideas or quotes.