Taking Notes

Writing Style  

  1. Make sure you know and understand the citation style specified by your professor. 
  2. Record bibliographic information for all items you consult in case your professor wants a Works Consulted list, as well as a Works Cited list. 
  3. Write down any finding aids you used to find that resource, in case you need to find it again. 
    1. Call number 
    2. Database or periodical index used to find source 
    3. Page number where you found the information 
    4. Key words used in search 
    5. URLs 
    6. Date you found the information
     


Some of the methods for taking notes from sources are listed below. To avoid any unnecessary confusion, it is a good idea to stick with one way of taking notes throughout your research project.

  1. Style of notes 
    1. Loose-leaf paper 
    2. Index cards 
     
  2. Format of notes 
    1. Lists of points 
    2. Summarizing and/or paraphrasing of information
     
  3. Content of notes 
    1. Notes should be succinct 
    2. Include information from more than one source that supports your thesis 
    3. Include opposing viewpoints if this is applicable, as with argumentative themes 
    4. Use a variety of sources 
    5. Distinguish information that is copied verbatim with some identifying mark (highlight or circle it with a different colored marker) and always note the source.
     

 

As you read through your sources, keep the following objectives and questions in mind. It will make note-taking and writing easier.  

  1. Be able to define or describe your topic. 
  2. What is the thesis of your paper? 
  3. What will the scope of your paper be? What are the main points you want to make? 
  4. Are there any aspects of the topic that you won't be covering? 
  5. What are other opinions on the subject? Do you agree or disagree with those opinions? Why or how do you agree or disagree with those opinions?

 

Plagiarism is stealing or passing off as one's own the words or ideas of another person. It is literary theft and must be avoided by using bibliographic citations, even if you are summarizing or paraphrasing those ideas in(to) your own words. Academic dishonesty, including but not limited to, cheating and plagiarism, is prohibited by Henderson State University's Code of Conduct, Section 13, Item 12. Consequences can be quite severe regardless of intent.  

  1. Citations are necessary for: 
    1. Any direct quotation -- including any information, words, ideas, conclusions, or data taken from someone else. 
    2. Paraphrasing or summarization of someone else's words or ideas. 
     
  2. Citations aren't necessary for: 
    1. Common knowledge 
    2. Obvious conclusions or opinions 
    3. Information found in at least three sources 
     
  3. Incorporate outside sources in your research paper accurately and smoothly. 
    1. Direct quotations are used when you cite another source verbatim within the text of your paper. Direct quotations must be: 
      • surrounded by quotation marks 
      • blocked (indented on both sides) if they are longer than four typed lines of prose or three lines of poetry. 
      • followed by a parenthetical citation. 
       
    2. Tags are very useful for noting credentials and/or associations of authors. They add credibility to the information within the citation. Tags are particularly useful for interviews. Ex.: According to Margaret Mitchell, author of one of the most acclaimed epic novels ever written, "Vivien Leigh is Scarlett O'Hara." 
    3. A precis is a concise summary of essential points, statements or facts. This type of writing requires reproduction of the logic, organization, and emphasis of the original text without actually copying anything beyond key words or phrases. This type of summary does not include any personal interpretation or opinion and it is generally shorter than a descriptive or analytical summary. 
    4. Summaries can be very useful because they allow you to convey relatively large amounts of information concisely. In a summary, you will generally only state the author’s main ideas or thesis without including extraneous material. Summaries can be used effectively to set up direct quotations. 
      • Descriptive summaries go beyond precis by providing more detail. Supporting evidence from the source is presented, as well as it's organization. 
      • Analytical summaries include all of the information found in descriptive summaries but they include personal interpretation, as well. 
       
    5. Paraphrasing is rephrasing another author's words or ideas and can be especially useful for explaining technical data to a lay audience. Paraphrased information must be cited. 

       
     

 
 
 
 
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