Note Taking Tips

Here are some tips to help you take good notes when doing research in social studies!

  1. Skim the article or source to help you see how long it is, how it is organized and what the main ideas are. This will help you decide right away if the article looks like it might fit with your research question or topic.

  1. Look for subject headings or sub-topic titles in the article. This will help you focus on the essential parts of the article for your research.

  2. Stick to your research question or subtopics. Skip extra information so you don’t get off track!

  3. Organize your notes into subtopics.

  4. Paste the citation/website above each set of notes within the subtopics

  1. Use YOUR OWN WORDS in your notes. This means paraphrasing what you read.

Paraphrasing is putting smaller sections of text into your own words. No information is left out. It is appropriate for supporting information, biographical, predictions, hypothesis, drawing conclusions. A paraphrase is your own rendition of essential information and ideas expressed by someone else, presented in a new form. Use quotation marks to identify any unique term or words you have borrowed exactly from the source.

  1. Copy and paste small portions of text such as specific details, facts, definitions, and statistics. Typically you don't need to cite this kind of information if it is common knowledge, unless it is a new or unique perspective on the knowledge.

  1. Directly quote a source. Quotations are reserved for 1-2 sentence statements that prove a point or reveal an attitude. Don't use quotations to make your point, just to back it up. They are especially appropriate for primary sources such as diaries, journals, speeches, interviews, letters, memos, manuscripts, memoirs, and autobiographies.


  2. Skip tiny words like "a" and "the". Use symbols and abbreviations when possible


“Scholar Space.” Easy Bib.

“Six Steps to Effective Paraphrasing.” Purdue University Online Writing Lab.

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