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Notetaking for Research and Listening

Notetaking for Research and Listening

Author: Alex Howe

This tutorial will walk you through how to successfully take notes for research purposes. It will also focus on how to listen and take notes during lectures and group discussions.

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Note taking

Good note taking is the key to a successful research project, whether the notes are taken from class or from a primary source, like a letter, or a secondary source, like a website. There are many ways to take notes, and we will visit some of them, but first we need to discuss what you will use to take your notes.

Each day that you take notes in the Google Doc provided for you, you will start your page with the date and topic, and teacher if you are in a presentation. Each time you find a source, you will add it to your notes AND to your EasyBib manager. If it is a primary source, highlight it in purple. Make sure you create your citation using APA so that it adds the url to your notes. You don't want to lose your sources! The last thing to do before you start taking notes is to write a brief description of what the source of the site is about. An example is below.


Types of Note taking

Once you have found a source, you will need to choose a way to take down information that you read. Some of the information will be key/main ideas and important vocab. Other notes may be names or sub points. Sometimes, you will have questions as you read. It is important to type this questions in your notes, and highlight them in red. That way you can come back to them to find the answer. And yes, most importantly, you will have to read, and not scan, to find this information.

There are many different ways to take notes. As you will be taking notes on your Chromebook only, there are several methods that you can choose from.

  • Cornell (2x2 table)
  • Outlining
  • Charting (table)
  • Sentence

Each one of these have pros and cons. Take a look at the pdf below to see which one will work best for you.

Types of Note taking


Keys for Lecture Notes

When taking notes during a lecture or presentation, you can use any of the above strategies. Use these tips to make sure you're not writing too much while also getting the important information.

  • Don't write down everything you read or hear. Be alert and attentive to the main points. Concentrate on the "meat" of the subject and forget the trimmings.
  • Notes should consist of key words or very short sentences.
  • Take accurate notes. You should use your own words, but try not to change the meaning.
  • Think a minute about the material before you start making notes. Don't take notes just to be taking notes! Take notes that will be of real value to you.
  • Have a uniform system for punctuation and abbreviation that will make sense to you.
  • Omit descriptions and full explanations. Keep your notes short and to the point.
  • Don't worry about missing a point. Leave space and pick up the material you missed at a later date, either through reading, questioning, common sense, or looking at a classmate's notes.

Overview of note taking strategies

Brief visual of each strategy. Videos below go into more depth.

Cornell Notes

Short video on Cornell note taking. Instead of making a T-chart in Docs, make a table. 2 x 2 should be enough to label and make your notes.

Outlining Notes