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Research Skills: Step-By-Step: Take Notes

This guide will help you to develop your research skills and better understand the research process.

Forms of Notetaking

Source: RMIT University Library. (2021, August 25). Paraphrasing [video]. YouTube.

Source: Scribbr. (2019, October 23). How to quote under 5 minutes [video]. YouTube.

Source: GreggU. (2018, December 29). How to summarize information [video]. YouTube.

Ideas for Manual Notetaking

Use index cards to keep notes and track sources used in your assessment.

  • Create Reference cards for each source
    • Include the citation (i.e., author, title, publisher, date, page numbers, etc.) using the APA Referencing style.
    • Number the source cards.
  • For each Note card:
    • Use only one side to record a single idea, fact or quote from one source. It will be easier to rearrange them later when it comes time to organize your writing.
    • Include a heading or key words at the top of the card. 
    • Include the Reference card number.
    • Include the page number where you found the information.
  • Taking Notes:
    • Use abbreviations, acronyms, or incomplete sentences to record information to speed up the notetaking process.
    • Write down only the information that answers your research questions.
    • Use symbols, diagrams, charts or drawings to simplify and visualize ideas.

Ideas for Electronic Notetaking

  • Keep a separate Reference document for the sources you use.
    • As you add sources to your list, use the APA Referencing style.
    • For websites, don't forget the URL information.
    • Number the sources in your list.
  • Next to each idea you note, include the source number from the Reference document and any page numbers for easy cross checking.
  • When done taking notes, assign keywords or sub-topic headings to each idea, quote or summary.
  • Use the copy and paste feature to group keywords or sub-topic ideas together. This will assist you when creating an outline for writing up your assessment.