Note-Taking Checklist

As you do your assignment, constantly check to see that your notes are:

Studious Boy

Relevant

  • Gather data that helps you answer your research questions
  • Gather supporting evidence for your own ideas about the topic. This might include:
    • Factual information
    • Others’ observations about the topic
    • Experts’ opinions about the topic
  • Record your own thoughts about the information:
    • Ideas for further exploration
    • Responses to the facts and opinions you have gathered
    • Questions you have about the information

Focused

  • Look for the key ideas from your information sources
  • Keep checking the information you are gathering:
    • Does it help you answer your research questions?
    • Are you staying on the topic?
    • Is it interesting, but not really needed for this task?
    • Is it repetitive?

Concise

  • Use point form, not complete sentences
  • Don’t record unneeded words (i.e., the, this, and)
  • Be brief: use abbreviations and symbols
  • Omit unneeded examples

Organized

  • Keep all of your notes together in a research folder
  • Use the best note-taking technique to suit your research task
  • Use the best note-taking organizer to suit each information source

Accurate

  • Use quality, up-to-date information sources. Critically assess the quality of your sources
  • Verify suspicious information by checking another source. This might include information that is:
    • Outdated
    • Biased or exaggerated
    • An unsupported opinion
  • Be careful to record information correctly
  • When paraphrasing, keep the author’s intended meaning
  • When quoting, copy exactly and correctly from the source

Honest

  • Use your own words, and express your own ideas
  • Cite all sources accurately: words, ideas, images, media files
  • Keep track of your information sources as you take notes: know what information you got from what source
  • Always give credit to people whose ideas you have paraphrased
  • Always give credit for quotes