Note Taking

Contributor: Jodi Powell. Lesson ID: 11710

Imagine a pile of pages of a book with no numbers or chapter names. How would you put them in order? Learning to take notes during your research and organize them will save you from such a nightmare!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Can you remember everything you've ever read, or where you read it? Maybe not. Therefore, it's helpful to take notes so you can properly relate information and sources for your readers!

When writing a research paper, you need to gather a great deal of information from your sources so you can communicate intelligently about your topic.

As you complete your research, you will enter into a whole new phase of the process: note taking. The note-taking stage of the research process is when a large bulk of the work takes place. Get your working hat on, because you are about to make serious progress on your paper!

So far in the research process, you have completed your preliminary research, gathered resources, created a preliminary outline, and crafted the thesis statement. Each of these steps has prepared you to use your sources to take notes and record the information you will put into your paper. This is one of the more time-consuming steps of the process, and also a very important one. The quality of your notes will be directly reflected in your final paper. Note taking is really the heart of the process. Putting time and effort into this step will pay off in dividends.

However, before moving on, if you need to view or review the previous Related Lessons in our Writing a Research Paper series, find them in the right-hand sidebar.

Why use note cards? Note cards are a simple way for you to gather and organize your research for easy access while writing your paper. Note cards also help you stay focused on information relating to your thesis.

As you begin, gather the following items: note cards (either 3 x 5 or 4 x 6 will do), a writing utensil, a highlighter, your preliminary outline, and each of your resources. It is also helpful to have a baggie or note card box to hold your note cards, as well as paperclips or rubber bands to separate cards by topic.

Begin by watching the video, Creating Note Cards for Research from Irvid1:


For further guidance on how to make note cards for your research paper, take a close look at the document, Creating Note Cards, found in Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar.

For a further explanation and examples of notecards, read Taking Notes Using Note Cards, created by the Pike School. A good example can be found on Pages 28-29 of the Millville Public Schools Research Assignment Manual. Read the information carefully, because you will need to understand the concepts in order to answer questions later in the lesson. You will ultimately put these skills to the test as you create note cards for your research paper.

Keep in mind while you are taking notes that it is imperative to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is the practice of taking someone else's words and ideas and passing them off as your own. Review the previous Related Lesson, found in the right-hand sidebar, for further information on plagiarism.

Before you begin creating note cards of your own, review what you have learned so you are fully prepared to complete the step successfully.

Now, continue on to the Got It? section for a review quiz.

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