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Note Taking



Any assignment that requires you to do research, will require you to take notes. The note taking method you adopt is purely a personal decision. There are many resources available in the Templeton Library that will give you tips on how to take notes. Check out: 

  • The VSB PASS!: Positive Approach to Successful Study
  • [808 WRI] Write It: a guide for research 

These books provide tips on getting started, and outline several methods for note taking. Two forms of note taking preferred by teachers are: 

  • Two-Column Notes    
  • Note Card notes

Regardless of which method you choose, the preparation steps are the same. 

  1. Always READ and RE-READ the text or passage before you start writing.  
  2. REFLECT on what you've read to determine which facts are the most important. 
  3. Then WRITE down only the important facts, in your own words. 


  • Be brief
  • Focus on important information (i.e. facts / statistics / definitions / etc.). 
  • Incorporate some form of symbol system that will decrease the amount of writing. 
  • Write notes in your own words. Remember, copying word for word is plagiarism. 
  • Always indicate the resource you are using. Keeping track of these resources will help in writing the Works Cited page for the assignment. 


  • Use 8 1/2" x 11" paper 
  • Write the subject or topic of your research paper at the top of each page. 
  • Write the resource title/author and page # at the top right-hand corner of the page. If you change resources, change sheets of paper. 
  • Divide the page into 2 columns 
    - Column 1 is one third of the page
    - Column 2 is two thirds of the page
  • Column 1 is used to record the topic or keyword for your notes 
  • Column 2 contains the facts and information on your topic (i.e. the bulk of the notes) 
  • Use only one side of the page, so that you can cut & sort notes in preparation for the writing process. 

Reminder: The notes should be brief and in point form - NO COMPLETE SENTENCES. 



  • Use index cards (2 1/2 x 3 " or 3" x 5") 
  • Record only one idea per card 
  • Topic or main idea on top left-hand corner 
  • Author / Resource Title and page # indicated on top right-hand corner or on the back of the index card to allow more space for the notes.  Reminder: The notes should be brief and in point form - NO COMPLETE SENTENCES. 
  • The note card system is also useful for studying for tests.
    For example:  Write the question on one side of the card & the answer on the reverse side. You can then use the cards to quiz yourself or a friend.

SAMPLE NOTE CARDS ... for research assignment on Chocolate

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