Once you've rounded up great resources, it's time to do a little reading and start taking notes.

Before you Begin Taking Notes:

  • Skim through your source before you start writing. As you read, you'll see that some information may not pertain to the focus of your paper. Use bookmarks or sticky notes to mark pages you want to read more carefully and take notes on.
  • Start a detailed Source Sheet that lists each resource you use as you take notes. This will come in handy when it's time to name your sources.
  • Assign each source a code or abbreviation. This will keep you from having to write out the entire name on every note or note card.

Writing Your Notes

  • Use the same type of note card or paper for each note you take.
  • Always identify the source of the information and page number at the top of your note card or paper— use the code for each source if possible.
  • Be sure to include the page number(s) where you located the information. This makes it easier to go back and recheck or get additional information.
  • Only write on one side of the note card or paper. This will help when it comes time to organize and write your outline.
  • Only write a small amount of information on each card. Keep your notes concise and to the point.
  • Use your own words. It's illegal to plagiarize.
  • If you must use the author's words, limit the number of direct quotations you use.
  • Write neatly. You don't want to waste time later trying to decipher your own scribbles.
  • Don't take notes on information that doesn't pertain to your topic. It's easy to get carried away and end up with lots of information you can't use.

Print this worksheet and use it to take notes.