Guidelines for Good Notetaking

Have a clear direction: Maintain a clear focus on the purpose of your work. As you read and research, revise and modify your tentative thesis and outline. Simultaneously, your thesis directs your reading and notetaking.

Organize your notes carefully, guided by a thesis or research question and a rough outline. The aim of notetaking is not to fill endless pages, but to gather notes directed toward a particular end.

Do not write down everything: Pause and take point-form notes in your own words as much as possible: include your own thoughts about what you read. Wait for breaks in your reading (paragraph, sub-section, chapter) before summarizing the author's ideas; then go back to specific details you wish to include. Once you have finished the whole text, review your notes, and summarize the key points and how they relate to your work.

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