3.7 How To Take Notes

Two Methods for Taking Notes

1. Quote information and then add your own ideas 

  • write down enough source information so you can easily find the source again later
  • copy the exact text and put it in quotation marks
  • add your own thoughts in a different colour

When you want to use your researched information to support your point of view, you then decide whether you want to use a direct quote, a paraphrase, or a summary of the original. Having the originals in front of you will allow you to double-check that you are quoting accurately and that you are paraphrasing properly.

Example: 

Source Information Exact Text  My Thoughts
  • Foot & Stoffman
  • 1996
  • Boom, bust & echo: How to profit from the coming demographic shift
Why did the baby boom happen? A likely explanation is that during those 20 years, Canadians knew they could afford large families. The postwar economy was robust, the future seemed full of promise, and young couples wanted to share that bright future with a big family. A second reason was the high immigration levels that prevailed during the 1950s (p. 20). Agree with healthy economy and high immigration being factors, but how about people being less material? Check Easterlin’s “relative income” theory!

 

2. Paraphrase or summarize information and then add your own ideas

  • write down enough of the source information so you can easily find the source again later
  • paraphrase
  • add your own thoughts in a different colour
Source Information Paraphrase  My Thoughts
  • Foot & Stoffman
  • 1996
  • Boom, bust & echo: How to profit from the coming demographic shift
Foot and Stoffman (1996) theorize that there were two main reasons behind the baby boom: a healthy economy that made young Canadians feel optimistic and gave them the confidence that they would have the means to support the large family they desired, and immigration that remained consistently high.​ Agree with healthy economy and high immigration being factors, but how about people being less material? Check Easterlin’s “relative income” theory!

Source: Adapted from McMaster University (2009). Three column note taking.  http://www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity/students/typeofad/plagiarism/3ColmNote.html

If you like to read digital files, you may want to take notes with OneNote (free for CBU students with Office 365).

  • Paste the file you are reading into the notebook.
  • Make notes of key information, paraphrases, and analysis alongside the digital file.

 

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Academic Integrity Handbook by Donnie Calabrese; Emma Russell; Jasmine Hoover; and Tammy Byrne is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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