Making and Taking Notes
Objectives of the lesson:
The objective of this lesson is to help students be able to:
- · Develop an awareness of the notion of ‘note taking/ making’.
- · Identify their strength and weaknesses during taking/ making notes. · Highlight the difference between taking and making notes.
- · Find helpful tips in order to be good and effective note takers/ makers.
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Note-taking and reading. Taking good notes from either a lecture or a text benefit learning (Kiewra, 1989 in Santrock, 2006). Therearesome strategies in note-taking that Santrock (2006) suggests such as: summarizing which requires the learners to use summary method of listening for a few minutes and then write down the main idea of the speaker; outlining the main topics; and concept maps which learners draw or illustrate. These note-taking strategies help the learners evaluate which ideas are important to remember. Outline and concept maps help them arrange the material hierarchically, which underscore an important theme of learning. It works best when it is organized. Further, Ellis (2006) mentions that effective note taking consists of three parts: observing, recording, and reviewing. Each part of the process is essential, and each depends on the others.
Making notes is a skill that will help you to manage the information content of your
programme of study. Making notes is something that you will do in many different situations: lectures; seminars; tutorials; reading a book or journal; surfing the Internet; watching television or a video. It is a very important practical skill and your notes will help you to
- · identify and understand key ideas. · learn key ideas and information.
- · keep a record of information for future use. · prepare for examinations.
The following table shows the difference between making notes and taking notes.
This involves making your own record of key information and ideas.
You will use your own words. You may add your own ideas or questions, or make links to the work of others.
Used during lectures or reading.
This involves copying information ‘word for word’ from another source
e.g. tutor, book, handbook.
Used when copying specific information, for example, advice on an assignment, details about room changes.
1. Making Good Notes:
During your university career you will make notes from a variety of sources, including
lectures, books, and the Internet. Making good notes is about identifying and selecting relevant information.
Think about why you are making notes.
• Do you want an overview of the subject?
• Do you want to record extremely detailed information?
• Will you be sharing your notes with a friend?
• Are you looking for a specific piece of information?
This is important as it will affect how you make notes. There are different ways of making
notes. You can
• list main headings and topics – keyword notes.
• draw a Mind Map.
• copy out specific details, for example, a quotation from a book.
It is usually impracticable to try and copy all the information presented to you during a
lecture. Instead, listen to what the lecturer is saying, read any visual aids, and make notes from your understanding. This will be a summary, the key points, or details about the original source. Spend some time after the lecture, or after you have finished reading an article, reviewing your notes. Ask yourself some questions.
• Is there anything you can add?
• Is there something that you might benefit from discussing with a fellow student? • Should you do some additional reading on the topic?
To engage fully in the process of making good notes it is a good idea to ask questions within
your notes and to consider the accuracy and relevance of what you are reading. Useful questions to start off this process include
• so what?
• how can this be verified?
• how can this be backed-up?
• do other researchers agree with this position? • what assumptions does the author make?
Finally, you may find that in the early days of your study programme you make copious
notes, but as you become more experienced you might make fewer, but more specific, ones.
2. What you should know when you make notes:
• Start with background details, forexample, lecturenotes should includethe moduletitle,
the date, the title of the lecture, and the lecturer. • Make sure you can read your notes.
• Only use one side of the paper. This makes it easier to organise your notes for planning or revision.
• Leave spaces for additional notes or comments.
• Use arrows, symbols, diagrams. This will speed up the note-making process.
• To help avoid unintentional plagiarism make notes in your own words. DO NOT COPY WORD-BY-WORD when making notes from books, journals, Internet.