Effective note-taking from lectures and readings is an essential
skill for secondary and university study. Good note taking allows
a permanent record for revision and a register of relevant points
that you can integrate with your own writing and speaking. Good
note-taking reduces the risk of plagiarism. It also helps you distinguish
where your ideas came from and how you think about those ideas.
|A. Making notes
Think about the topic.
What do you know about it?
What do you need to know about it?
Survey any appropriate books.
When you find one that may have
useful information, look for appropriate passages.
Use the table of contents to find the most useful chapters.
Check the index to find any relevant information. Look
first at the longer entries listed in the index.
Identify any potentially useful passages.
Skim the whole passage you have
looking at the title
reading the first paragraph
glancing at headings, subheadings, diagrams, photos or
illustrations reading the concluding paragraph.
Make a decision about whether
or not you want to use the passage. If you do, decide what the
major heading will be.
Decide what your purpose is in
summarising the passages you have chosen. Read with your purpose
Asking questions is often a useful
way of reading actively. Turn any headings or subheadings into
questions or ask yourself questions such as:
What is the main idea of the passage?
Who is involved? Where/when/why/how did it happen?
Read the first section of the
passage through carefully
Make brief outline notes in point
form and in your own words:
selecting the main idea
adding any worthwhile supporting ideas
including any examples which you think may be useful.
Proceed through the passage one
section or one paragraph at a time.
Regular cameras obviously will not function underwater
unless specially protected. Though housings are available
for waterproofing 35 mm and roll-film cameras, a few special
models are amphibious -they can be used above or below
the water. Most of these cameras are snapshot models,
but one, Nikonos, is a true 35 mm system camera. Though
lenses and film must be changed on the surface, the camera
will otherwise function normally at depths down to 70
mm. Four lenses are available : two of these, which have
focal lengths of 90 mm and 35 mm, will function in air
and water; the other two of these, which have focal lengths
of 90 mm and 35 mm, will function in air and water; the
other two, the 28 and 15 mm lenses, work only under water.
Lenses are also available from other manufacturers.
(Source: Freeman M. The Encyclopaedia
of Practical Photography. London, Quartro Books 1994,
1. Regular Cameras
special housing necessary
a) snapshot models
b) Nikonos (35 mm)
i) air & water 35
ii) only under water 28
In this machine age, most business
correspondence and school written work is legible because
it is typed; but a great deal of private correspondence,
classroom testing and exams is still handwritten, and
it should be written legibly, purely and simply out
of courtesy to the reader.
School children, more especially boys,
tend to forget this basic reason why their writing should
be reasonably neat. It is not a matter of producing
something beautiful for beauty's sake, a practice which
some boys are likely to regard - quite wrongly - as
effeminate or 'cissy.' It is not a question of obliging
Mr. Smith, who happens to be a fussy type of teacher,
although Mr. Smith, who has to spend forty or fifty
years in reading by artificial light scores of thousands
of essays and other written exercises, may reasonably
claim to have some rights in the matter. The situation
is much more important than many people realize: if
you write, you write for someone to read; and you owe
your reader the courtesy of offering him something that
he can read rapidly, unhesitatingly, and without mistaking
what you wanted to say.
Nor is it any excuse for handwritten
rudeness for you to state plaintively, as so many people
do, that you have always been a bad writer and that
there's nothing you can do about it. There is something
you can do about it: you can agree that bad, untidy,
illegible writing is a form of rudeness to your reader,
and you can begin now to eliminate it. You can practise
for five or ten minutes a day - perhaps when you are
writing up an experiment or summary - making one piece
of work as neat as possible. You can, if necessary,
begin to change your handwriting to a simpler style,
adopting plainer l's and b's and g's and y's if you
make poor loop letters, and moving on to add more legible
capitals and o's and r's and s's later. You may even
decide to change to printing or near-printing (keeping
letters close together and words well spaced) if you
find that no other device will serve. All this you will
do, not because good writing is artistic (though that
itself is a sufficient and praiseworthy motive), and
not because your teacher demands it (though he has every
right to do so, for your sake and his own); but you
will do it, if for no other reason than that a poorly
scribbled letter is an impolite letter, that says plainly
to client, employer, friend or relation, 'I don't care
whether you find this difficult to read or. not; I am
too lazy to bother writing well enough to make myself
Some people claim to
be able to tell character from handwriting; certainly,
from poor handwriting we can tell a good deal.
your point form outline and summary with the sample.
B. Taking notes from the Internet
It is very easy
to download material from the Internet or simply to copy and
paste information from a website into a text of your own. While
Internet sources are so readily accessible and authorship is
sometimes hard to determine, these sources must still be acknowledged.
Not to do so is plagiarism and Internet plagiarism is increasingly
easy to detect through the use of search engines such as Google.
A good strategy is to download an article from the Internet,
highlight relevant information and summarise this information
in your own words on paper. Keep a record of the details of
any websites you use, including the date on which you accessed
As there are no restrictions affecting what can be published
on the Internet, you need to evaluate carefully the worth
of the material you find. In considering the usefulness of
a site, ask yourself:
Has the author of the material been named?
Have the author's credentials or qualifications been
What is the domain name of the site? This helps you
to identify the purpose and source of the site. Here is a
list of the most common domain names:
.edu - an educational site
.com - a commercial site
.gov - a government site
.ac - an academic site
.au - an Australian site
C. Taking notes from speakers
notes from a speaker or another form of oral presentation can
be useful because:
it provides a permanent record which
can be useful for revision
writing notes can help you to concentrate on what the
speaker is saying.
Taking notes from a speaker teacher,
student's oral presentation, class discussion, radio, television,
etc. involves listening. Listening is a key skill for
your success, both at school and beyond.
It is a powerful skill one we need to continue
developing throughout our entire lives.
To become a good listener, consciously focus on the
presenter their manner, tone, body language, stance
- as well as on the content.
Aim to gain the most information you can from all elements
of their presentation.
Watch the speaker as much as you
As you cannot make a note of everything
that is said, concentrate on the argument the speaker is developing.
Try to jot down headings and subheadings
that show the structure of the talk.
Note important points in short
phrases or single words. The speaker will give clues to important
points through emphasis, repetition and pauses.
Learn the sequence that speakers
often follow when they are presenting an argument. This may
help you to work out the structure of the talk as you are listening.
state the problem or pose questions
review the evidence
comment on the evidence that supports their argument
explain why they disregard any evidence that contradicts
discuss their conclusions.
|The following strategy
can really help you get the most out of listening to a speaker
Divide your page into three sections.
In one column, note the main points of the information
In the next column, write any questions you have
In the third section, record any general comments,
links or ideas that occur to you - use these for later discussion.
|At the end of the
presentation, when you are asked, Are there any questions
or comments?, you can demonstrate that you listened actively
and you will have gained from the presentation something more
than just entertainment.
|Notes from presentation
play based on real Scottish king (1040-1057)
violent rule of tyrant
prophecy of 3 witches
murder of King Duncan = regicide
madness Lady Macbeth
gender politics role reversals
solilaquy? soliloquy How to spell?
what's the difference between a soliloquy and
what is blank verse?
did witches really exist?
gender politics Macbeth is feminised while
Lady Macbeth is masculinised explain!
the play is more about what makes a good ruler
witches give Macbeth what he wants to hear
Develop your own personal shorthand.
(Aus or A) Australia or Australian
Britain or British
France or French
is greater than
is less than
is equal to
and so on
It is vital for your bibliography that you record the details
of each reference text you use. You should note the author,
date of publication, title, place of publication and publisher.
You should also keep a record of the page reference. If you
decide to quote from a reference book, make sure your quote
is accurate and placed in inverted commas.
(for more details, refer to the Referencing page).
E. Some further suggestions
Notes are written for your eyes alone, but make them
easy to read.
Keep them as neat as possible.
Underline headings and subheadings or write them in
a different coloured pen.
Spread them out, leaving a line between each section.
Rule a margin, allowing room for additional comments.
Rule a single line through any mistakes you make.
a go with these two quizzes!
(material used on
this page has been adapted from The Active Look it Up! (Forrestal, Guest & Eshuys. Melbourne: Thomson Nelson, 2000)