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How to take research notes

How to take research notes

Author: Kathy Hanley
  1. Explain a variety of note-taking techniques and the pros and cons of each (e.g. concept maps, Cornell note taking system).

  2. Explain how to write concise, accurate notes without having to write every word.

This packet should help a learner seeking to understand how to conduct research for a paper and who is confused about how to take research notes. It will explain why it is important to develop a note-taking system that makes sense and is easily referenced.

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Research Notes

There are a variety of ways to take notes when you are doing research for a paper.  Some researchers choose to use notecards for research notes, while others use online formats for their notes.  Regardless of what format you use, it is essential to include an attribution for every resource that is used.

Source: Created by me


Not all research needs to be directly quoted.  It is best to have a combination of quotes and paraphrased information.  Paraphrasing means you have read the research and have written it in your own words.  The link below gives good instruction on how to paraphrase.

How to paraphrase when taking research notes.

Taking Research Notes with Notecards

How to use notecards to take notes is explained in this slideshow.

Source: Created by me

Online Note Taking

You may want to take notes electronically.  There are a number of free online sources that you can use to collect and store your research.

Electronic notetaking allows you to copy and paste which saves time and helps with accuracy.

If you do not back up your files, you could lose your research if you have a crash.

Diigo - Collect, highlight, store, bookmark sources, share

NoodleTools - Provides information on smart searching and offers online notecards

Source: Created by me