Everybody makes notes in their own ways. They are for your purposes so the most important aspect is that they suit you. Your notes may be neat or messy, ordered lists or sprawling webs. This does not matter as long as you can make use of them.
This is a very common way of making notes. It is especially useful if you are typing your notes as you can reorganise information under new headings. The heading is the key point or a question. The bullets or list of points under it all refer to that one heading.
These are notes where you use either two colours, two columns or two sheets of paper in order to make two connected sets of notes. The first set is a summary of what you are reading or hearing. The second set is your commentary upon the first set. This is useful for separating out other people's ideas and words from your own.
These are notes that are organised around a central concept and work their way out from that idea. Each line from the centre leads you into more depth on a particular theme. Use colour and shape to make the notes distinctive. Look for a particular image formed by the final shape of the notes - or aim to develop a particular image. This will make the notes more memorable.
If you own the book you are reading from, you can highlight key points and write additional information and comments in the margins or underneath. This can save time making longer notes, but is less effective for processing the information and ensuring that you understand it than other forms of notes.
It is useful to summarise your notes on any one topic or question down to a few key points, quotes and examples.
These are useful, for example for:
It is important to keep a very good record of where you gained each piece of information so that you can find it again quickly and easily if you need to check something about it. You will also need this information when you make reference to the information in your work. If you do not state where you get ideas, material and quotations, then you may be accused of plagiarism.
Take special care when copying quotations. To avoid plagiarism:
This content has been written by Bryan Greetham, author of How to Write Better Essays.