Activity Thirteen Focused note taking from reading

Take a clean sheet of A4 paper. Divide the page into one-third on the left-hand side and two-thirds on the right-hand side. Or do the same with a page on your computer.

On the wider right-hand side take notes as you read which are relevant to your assignment. You may find it useful to use the same categories or headings as the author, or you may find it more useful to make notes under your own headings. Try to summarize in your own words rather than writing down large chunks of the text. Getting things into your own words is about getting ideas into your own ways of thinking about them. This is the first step to owning the ideas that you are going to write about in your assignment.

When you have finished your initial note taking you are going to use the left-hand side of the page. Go through your notes again and make notes of the key points on the left-hand side. Try to do this without referring back to the original book or article. You may want to summarize using headings, or using a spider diagram rather than writing in a traditional format. At this stage it can be useful to use different coloured pens to group similar themes; a highlighter can also be useful.

Having finished this stage you should have what you can genuinely call your notes. You have started with the academic text and made notes on that. Then you have made notes on your notes. These notes are not only in your own words - rather than direct quotes from the text - but also by now probably grouped into different themes and headings from those used in the text that you are reading. Notes made in your own words using different coloured pens (or different font, size and colour), with your own headings and form of organization, will be the most useful to you when you come to write your assignment. Figure 5.1 illustrates one student's example of focused note taking.

0 0

Post a comment