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Note Taking Methods: Home

Skimming Tips

Have a plan in mind when you start reading. What are you reading this particular article for? How deep are you into your research?

-Look for Heading titles

-look for your keywords

-look for dates

-look for numbers

-identify info that is inconsequential, ignore it.

Trash or Treasure?

What you have highlighted should probably end up on a notecard.

Notetaking powerpoint

When Do I Skim?

You will be reading, a lot, for a research project. Not everything you read will you necessarily use. Nor do you have to do really close reading on every source. Especially in the beginning when you are simply information gathering you want to look for pertinent chapters, timelines, and overviews. In the next stage of research (when you have a general idea of your topic(s) you should focus on the details. Look for statistics, quotes and other evidence. This will probably require multiple sources. THAT IS OK. The third stage would be to find specific evidence that backs up your thesis. This might require a closer reading of materials and a search for expert opinions. What you should be focusing on throughout the whole process is the information that you are going to extract for your notes.

Find the Main Points

Most articles/chapters in a book will have one main idea supported by additional paragraphs of sub topics. Before taking notes scan the article to figure out what the main idea is. One strategy for skimming is read the first paragraph where the author established their main idea. Then scan the first or second sentences of each remaining paragraph in that section and then finally read the entire concluding paragraph. At that point you should be able to put in your own words what is the main idea.

Cornell Notes Word template