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Stage 1: Orientation

Write down full publication details

Write down and consider the title and any sub-titles

Read the abstract and highlight key words and ideas

Read the introduction & conclusion and highlight key words and ideas

Based on 2-4, summarise the central argument of the article






Now you are ready to take notes (see next slide...)


If you accessed the article through Learn, a Resource List, or DiscoverEd, you can see the publication details there. These details may also be visible at the top of the article itself. It's important to note these down so you can find the article again and cite it correctly.

You may wish to highlight key words in the title, which will tell you the main topic of the article. The subtitles will give you a sense of the structure and central ideas in the article.

An abstract is a brief summary which appears at the start of the article. Not all readings will have abstracts. Highlighting its key words and ideas will help you to understand what the central argument is.

Authors generally state their argument clearly in the introduction and conclusion. Familiarising yourself with these before reading the full article will help you see where the article is going.

Try to summarise the argument in one or two sentences, in your own words. This summary can be provisional at this stage. It will help you to optimise your reading if you're clear in your mind what the central thread of the article is.

You can remember these steps with the sentence “Please try and implement clear, succinct notes”. The first letter of each word in this sentence represents the highlighted word in each step below.

Stage 2: Taking notes

Work through the article & summarise it; use approx. 1 bullet point per paragraph

Use your own words as much as possible

Use indented bullets to indicate sub-points

You may wish to also highlight as you go

Make sure to include page numbers

Once you're done, see if you can summarise the scholar's argument without looking

Remember to file your notes somewhere you can access them again.

Like this

Avoid the temptation to include too much detail, which can stop you from seeing the wood for the trees. But also make sure to include enough detail, so that you can understand the flow of the argument when you look back on your notes.

Rephrasing and summarising in your own words can help you to process the material and understand it better.

Using levels of indentation can help you to see the structure of the argument.

If you highlight the important phrases and sentence in the article, you can revisit the article at a later date and immediately see the most important parts.

Including page numbers will help you to quickly find relevant sections of an article if you wish to refer back to them. It is also essential to include page numbers when you cite articles in your essays.

This will help you to see how much for the argument you have understood and retained. If you're struggling, read over your notes and try again.