note taking

Where do I start? 

Note taking can be stressful and unproductive IF you do not have a plan.

Did you know that when you read for research, you DO NOT start on page 1. Use table of contents, chapter headings, and indexes to make your reading more efficient.

Make a PDF of all resources and learn how to use electronic highlighting, searching, and online notes to make it easier to review your resources. Click here for a sample of an annotated PDF source.

Here is one note taking plan.

1. For each source, use the Cornell note taking template to pull quotes and concepts.

Blank Template

Filled Template    << this page also shows you how to mark up a PDF of your source.


It is important to give each source a label. I use letters but you could also use numbers. This will make synthesizing more streamlined later on. Source A, Source B, etc.

ALWAYS WRITE DOWN CITATION INFORMATION. We can format it later, but sometimes we misplace a book, the internet goes down. Not writing down an author's name or copyright sometimes actually causes the internet to break just to spite you.

2. Now, you are ready to synthesize. This is an area ripe in revision. Your thesis statement may undergo a transformation. 

Blank Synthesis Form

Filled Synthesis Form

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