Note-taking while reading
- It is important to have a clear overview of what you are reading and it is recommended that you skim-read material first.
Know why you are reading
- to get a broad understanding of a topic or theory?
- to find specific information on a set concept?
- to locate research on a topic?
- to find the reasons behind an idea or argument?
- to decide on the validity, truth or bias in a reading?
- Use in-depth reading techniques to read actively.
- Read with a pencil and mark and/or number main points, relevant details or examples or research.
Methods for marking while reading
There are three general methods that can be used to mark important information while reading.
Please don't mark any library books; instead consider photocopying the chapter/s you need and mark the photocopies. This enables you to retain a copy for your study after returning the book. Please note you may only copy 10% or one chapter of a book under New Zealand copyright law.
Once you have identified the key elements of the section of text you should then write up your notes. Examples of different note-taking methods can be found in the section on note-taking methods. Remember to clearly record referencing information (especially the author and page numbers) about the section of text you have read in notes in case you have to refer to the text again.
If you are working with PDFs or other digital material, see digital note-taking for tools that help you to annotate that material.
References and further reading
- StudyUp Resources. (n.d.). Massey University. http://owll.massey.ac.nz/about-OWLL/studyup-resources.php
- Todd-Williamson, C. (n.d.). Reading, note-taking, and how to use a literature matrix [online tutorial]. Massey University. http://owll.massey.ac.nz/interactives/study-up-how-to-use-reading-techniques/content/index.html#/