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Guide to the Research Process: 4b. Notetaking

This guide provides an introduction to the skills needed to conduct research, with particular reference to the field of education.

Tips for Notetaking

Carelessness in notetaking can result in unintentional plagiarism. The following are some important tips for notetaking:

  • For each source of information:
    • record all of the citation information (i.e., author, title, publisher, date, page numbers, etc.) you will need for your reference list.
    • record the citation information in APA format. When it is time to compile your reference list, it will be easier to organize your sources alphabetically.
  • Taking notes:
    • Use abbreviations, acronyms, or incomplete sentences to record information (as long you will understand them later). This will speed up the notetaking process.
    • Do not write down everything. Extract only the information that answers your research questions.
    • Use one of the following notetaking forms:
      • Summarize the main idea of the article, then outline its main points.
      • Paraphrase or record notes in your own words.
      • If you plan to use an exact quote, make sure you copy the quotation exactly as it appears in the original source. Enclose the quote in quotation marks and note the name of the person you are quoting.
      • Use symbols, diagrams, charts, or drawings to simplify and visualize ideas.