The UVic Writer's Guide

Taking Notes

Take notes only on material you find worthwhile and reliable, and make sure that your notes are accurate. That does not mean that you should take down everything from your source word for word, although sometimes you will want to record an especially well-worded or stimulating quotation. It is usually best to paraphrase as much as possible, in order to reduce your dependence on the source and to encourage your own analysis of it. However, even when paraphrasing, make sure to preserve the original intent of your source, and record page numbers, since you may wish to cite the source later, even if you do not quote directly

Although this may seem an obvious point, make sure to write legibly--there is nothing worse than being unable to decipher your own notes, and finding that someone else has taken the original source from the library.

There are several ways of taking notes:

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Copyright, The Department of English, University of Victoria, 1995
This page updated May 12, 1995