How to Take Notes

Note-taking techniques vary from person to person. Here are some of the most commonly used:

  • underline or use a highlighter (only in texts you own) to identify key passages and ideas
  • write in the margins your reactions to the material and how it relates to your assignment (only in texts that you own)
  • flag the location of important information using Post-it Notes
  • use online mechanisms for notating electronic documents (e.g., Evernote, Google Docs or an ebook reader)
  • record the exact location (e.g., page number, paragraph) of key ideas or passages in the reading material you have on hand, to help you locate this information when you need it, and to later include it in your bibliography
  • code your notes numerically or using different colours. For example, record a “1” beside ideas or passages you might use in your introduction, a “2” for information that relates to the first theme or argument in your paper.
You can also try the Note-taking Worksheet located under Resources.