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Tips for Taking Notes by Hand
- Use index cards to keep notes and track sources used in your paper.
- Create Work Cited cards for each source.
- Include the citation (i.e., author, title, publisher, date, page numbers, etc.) in MLA format. It will be easier to organize the sources alphabetically when creating the Work Cited page.
- Number the source cards.
- On 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 paper.
- Include a heading or key words at the top of the card.
- Include the Work Cited source 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.
Tips for Taking Notes Electronically
- Keep a separate Work Cited file of the sources you use.
- As you add sources, put them in MLA format.
- Group sources by publication type (i.e., book, article, website).
- Number source within the publication type group.
- For websites, include the URL information.
- Next to each idea, include the source number from the Work Cited file and the page number from the source. See the examples below. Note #A5 and #B2 refer to article source 5 and book source 2 from the Work Cited file.
#A5 p.35: 76.69% of the hyperlinks selected from homepage are for articles and the catalog
#B2 p.76: online library guides evolved from the paper pathfinders of the 1960's
- 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.
- Back up your master list and note files frequently!
Forms of Note-taking
Use one of these note-taking forms to capture information:
- Summarize: Capture the main ideas of the source succinctly by restating them in your own words.
- Paraphrase: Restate the author's ideas in your own words.
- Quote: Copy the quotation exactly as it appears in the original source. Put quotation marks around the text and note the name of the person you are quoting.
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