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Q. Note-taking


Note-taking is an important technique that should be used when finding, reading, and evaluating sources. The topic of your assignment and research question should guide your note-taking. The guide below takes you through note-taking strategies that can be useful during course lectures, when reading textbooks, or during source evaluation. 



  • Utilize an outline format for each class - give each new topic a different title
  • Emphasize main ideas and add complete thoughts using abbreviated text
  • Avoid writing lecture word-for-word
  • Start a new page of notes for each lecture
  • Circle and underline key words that are unclear or you need more explanation
  • Copy diagrams or other visuals used during the lecture 

(These suggestions were adapted from the University of Washington Instructional Center)



  • Break reading assignments into smaller chunks and take notes section-by-section
  • Preview the section you are going to read by identifying headings or subheadings - use these are your note headings to stay organized
  • Once you’ve read a section, ask yourself questions like “What did I learn?”and  “What were the big ideas?” Add these to your notes as “Big Ideas” to summarize the text. 
  • Make note of the key information in your lecture notes. Fill in any lecture note gaps with your reading information.

(These suggestions were adapted from the GVSU SASC - Reading & Research)



  • Start a new notes page for each source and record the title, name of the author(s), and how you retrieved the source
  • Put information in quotation marks if they came directly from the source and add an in-text citation at the end (e.g. Smith, 2019)
  • Use abbreviations and provide examples used in the source to explain concepts 

(This information was adapted from the Note-taking Strategies page.)


Consider browsing this helpful handout:  

  1. What is Plagiarism? 
  2. Evaluating Sources
  3. Finding Sources
  4. Reading Scientific Articles


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This information is brought to you by the Grand Valley Knowledge Market


  • Last Updated Oct 18, 2019
  • Views 24
  • Answered By Francesca Golus

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