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Effective note-taking Íde O’Sullivan and Lawrence Cleary Regional Writing Centre, UL www.ul.ie/rwc.

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Presentation on theme: "Effective note-taking Íde O’Sullivan and Lawrence Cleary Regional Writing Centre, UL www.ul.ie/rwc."— Presentation transcript:

1 Effective note-taking Íde O’Sullivan and Lawrence Cleary Regional Writing Centre, UL

2 Regional Writing Centre2

3 3 Aims Discover useful tips on how to take effective notes in class. Enhance your reading, selecting and note- taking skills. Practice paraphrasing and summarising techniques so that you are equipped with the skills needed to distinguish between your own words and the words of the person you are reading.

4 Regional Writing Centre4 Reading and note-taking Note-taking in class Reading (critically) Selecting and note-taking Reporting the work of others: Paraphrasing, summarising, and synthesising Distinguishing between your own words and the words of the person you are reading

5 Regional Writing Centre5 Note-taking in class Why takes notes in class? How to prepare for note-taking –Before the course begins –Before each class –During the class –After the class

6 Regional Writing Centre6 Note-taking in class Before the course begins –Be prepared! –Familiarise yourself with the course/syllabus outline (objectives, topics, class schedule, assignments, grading, exams …) –Find out if/where the lecturer makes the notes available. –Team up with a with a classmate/study group.

7 Regional Writing Centre7 Note-taking in class Before each class –Be prepared! –Familiarise yourself with the concepts that will be covered in that class. –Read the assigned reading. –Check the previous week’s notes. –Attend all lectures – your notes will be much more valuable to you than someone else’s.

8 Regional Writing Centre8 Note-taking in class During the class –Develop a method/style that works for you. –Strike a balance. –Use abbreviations and symbols. –Identify patterns of organisation. –Listen closely to the introduction and conclusion. –Identify key words and ideas (direct statements, repetition). –Listen carefully to the tutor’s voice for clues.

9 Regional Writing Centre9 Note-taking in class During the class –Listen carefully and summarise the main ideas (you cannot write down word-for- word everything the lecturer says). –Decide on how much detail to include. –Mind-mapping Headings, numbers, bullets, indentations Key words Link ideas with lines/diagrams/colours –Leave space to add things later. (Rose, 2001: )

10 Regional Writing Centre10 Note-taking in class After the class –Review your notes. –Fill in the blanks shortly after the lecture. –Team up with a classmate if you are missing important information. –Make sure your notes are complete and accurate. –Try and make sense of the notes. –Discuss the content with a classmate.

11 Regional Writing Centre11 Note-taking in class After the class –Integrate notes with the rest of the course material. –Make connections between the ideas. –Write a summary of the main points. –Engage in further reading. –Develop a good filing system for your notes. –Keep a learning journal. –Remember: Practice makes perfect!!!!

12 Regional Writing Centre12 Managing Reading Surveying Titles Scanning –Table of contents –Abstract/Introduction –Bibliography –Index –Reviewer’s comments Skimming Careful/purposeful reading Constructing meaning

13 Regional Writing Centre13 Reading Skim the text to get an overall impression –Look at the heading/s - How is the text organised? –Look at the first and last paragraph. –If there is a summary, read it. Carefully read the topic sentence of each paragraph, then continue to read the text Ask yourself: –What do I understand? –What do I know already? –What do I not understand? Read to the end. Take notes (concept map/mind map).

14 Regional Writing Centre14 Efficient reading Purposeful Flexible Active Interactive –Understand the text –Construct meaning using existing knowledge; information acquired in the text; making connections between this and other texts. Informed reading (What to do before and after reading.)

15 Regional Writing Centre15 Efficient reading Highlight important information. Outline/Chart the main ideas. Use different colours to code information. Use labels and bookmarkers. Speed reading

16 Regional Writing Centre16 Reading and note-taking Focus your reading. Record the author’s name, the title of the book, chapter, article, etc., the date of publication, the place of publication, and the page(s) on which the borrowed information is found. Read and understand the text. Select the relevant information and the main ideas. Take notes: distinguish between your words and the words of the author.

17 Regional Writing Centre17 Reading and note-taking Be brief. –Note key words and main ideas. –Summarise main points. –Do not copy large chunks of texts. Be organised! –Use headings, colours, numbering… –Leave space to add more information. Use your own words.

18 Regional Writing Centre18 Reporting the work of others Making use of the ideas of other people is one of the most important aspects of academic writing because it shows awareness of other people’s work; it shows that you can use their ideas and findings; it shows you have read and understood the material you are reading; it shows where your contribution fits in; it supports the points you are making. (Gillet, 2005)

19 Regional Writing Centre19 Reporting the work of others We report another author’s ideas by using paraphrase, summary, and quotation, and we use introductory phrases and reporting verbs to communicate our relationship to the ideas that we are reporting. Compare, for example: –Brown (1983: 231) claims that a far more effective approach is... –Brown (1983: 231) points out that a far more effective approach is... –A far more effective approach is... (Brown, 1983: 231)

20 Regional Writing Centre20 Reporting the work of others If you use another’s words, ideas, or method of organisation, you must credit that author by citing the source in the text of your writing and referencing it at the end of your essay/report. This is true whether you quote a source, paraphrase it, or summarise it. You must not use another person's words or ideas as if they were your own: this is Plagiarism and plagiarism is regarded as a very serious offence (Gillet, 1995: Online).

21 Regional Writing Centre21 Reporting the work of others It is very important when you do this to make sure you use your own words, unless you are quoting. You must make it clear when the words or ideas that you are using are your own and when they are taken from another writer.

22 Regional Writing Centre22 Referencing Why do we document sources accurately? Doing so allows readers to find materials that you’ve used. Doing so enhances your credibility as a writer. Doing so protects you against charges of plagiarism. [From the Department of English, Illinois State University, ‘Course Guide for English 101: Language & Composition 1’, (1997: 109)]

23 Regional Writing Centre23 Quotation Quoting a person means writing down the words of that person exactly as you find them and enclosing those words between inverted commas: “There is no such thing as a free lunch” (Gibbons 2008). The context for the quote should be part of the introduction to the quote: Gibbons (2008) tells us that the current food crisis illustrates that “[t]here is no such thing as a free lunch”.

24 Regional Writing Centre24 Direct quotation Direct quotation of whole sentences or just one or two words (exact words) Quoted information is enclosed by double- inverted commas (“…”). The text quoted is sacrosanct. –Do not change spelling (i.e. American to British) or punctuation. –Do not correct spelling and punctuation. –Sic enclosed in square brackets, [sic], is inserted into the quote, after the error, to indicate to the reader that the error was not yours.

25 Regional Writing Centre25 Paraphrase “Paraphrasing is writing the ideas of another person in your own words. You need to change the words and the structure but keep the meaning the same” (Gillet, 1995: Online).

26 Regional Writing Centre26 Paraphrase Example: Original Text: Memory is the capacity for storing and retrieving information. Paraphrase: Memory is the facility for keeping and recovering data. (Gillet, 1995: Online)

27 Regional Writing Centre27 Paraphrase “…the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) high-level summit on world food security, climate change and bio-energy… blames weather conditions in major grain-producing regions (mainly Australia and Canada) for the spike in prices. It also fingers population growth, higher oil prices, changing dietary habits as well as demand for bio-fuels” (Gibbons 2008).

28 Regional Writing Centre28 Changing words The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) high-level summit on world food security, climate change and bio-energy… implicates changing climactic norms in agricultural centres (chiefly Australia and Canada) for sharp price increases. It also identifies increases in populations, elevations in the price of oil, modifications in what people eat as well as an insistence a supply of bio-fuels be made available (Gibbons 2008).

29 Regional Writing Centre29 Summary “A summary is a shortened version of a text. It contains the main points in the text and is written in your own words. It is a mixture of reducing a long text to a short text and selecting relevant information. A good summary shows that you have understood the text” (Gillet, 1995: Online).

30 Regional Writing Centre30 Summary Example: Original text: People whose professional activity lies in the field of politics are not, on the whole, conspicuous for their respect for factual accuracy. Summary: Politicians often lie. (Gillet, 1995: Online)

31 Regional Writing Centre31 Summarise “…the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) high-level summit on world food security, climate change and bio-energy… blames weather conditions in major grain-producing regions (mainly Australia and Canada) for the spike in prices. It also fingers population growth, higher oil prices, changing dietary habits as well as demand for bio-fuels” (Gibbons 2008).

32 Regional Writing Centre32 Peer review Did the writer cover the main points? Does the summary give a good, brief overview of what the article is about? Is it written in complete sentences? Is it accurate? Was it sourced? How? Can you introduce your summary with one of the phrases covered earlier?

33 Regional Writing Centre33 Citing and referencing sources The ideas or the words of those that you have read are generally recorded twice: –First, in your text (a parenthetical citation). –Second, at the end (in a reference page, marked References, or Works Cited). The parenthetical citation in your text refers to more detailed information given in the References page at the end of your essay.

34 Regional Writing Centre34 Citing and referencing sources Example: –Swales has recently withdrawn slightly from his original conception of the discourse community, arguing that "the 'true' discourse community may be rarer and more esoteric than I once thought ” (1993, p. 695). Reference –Swales, J. (1993) ‘ Genre and engagement ’, Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire, 71,

35 Regional Writing Centre35 References Gibbons, J. (2008) ‘Sustainable production can end food shortages’, The Irish Times, 05 Jun, available: /2008/0605/ html [accessed 05 June, 2008]. /2008/0605/ html UEfAP.com (2008) ‘Academic Writing: Citing Sources’, Using English for Academic Purposes: A Guide for International Students [online], available: m [accessed 05 June, 2008]. m


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