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Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct


Notes taken during lectures, seminars and research will form the basis of your work, helping you to prepare essays and dissertations and revise for exams. Effective note-taking is a very useful skill which can help you to:

  • focus and concentrate
  • organise and record key details
  • gain a fuller understanding of the information and improve your recall
  • save time and energy by working more efficiently.

Tips for effective note-taking

  • be critical about the material - assess its importance to the subject matter, and its credibility
  • don't copy large amounts of text verbatim
  • always keep detailed notes of any resources used so that you can reference properly later
  • review and summarise your notes afterwards
  • organise and store your notes so that they are easy to retrieve.

Note-taking techniques

The following are examples of note-taking techniques:

  • mind maps (e.g. spider diagram) - help you to visualise key points and the connections and overlaps between them
  • tabular notes - help with making comparisons between points
  • flow charts - help to visualise steps in a process
  • index cards
  • highlighting and annotating.

Note-taking from lectures

To get the most out of your lectures, you may find it useful to:

  • find out the subject of the lecture beforehand and read up, so that you'll be prepared for the key themes and ideas
  • don't try to write down everything - keep to main points
  • create a wide margin on each page so that there's room to expand on your notes later.

Note-taking from written material

When note-taking from written material - whether from a printed source, or online - it is helpful to:

  • take reference details down before you start reading
  • if you write down a direct quote, make sure you specify this in your notes to avoid later confusion
  • reading the introduction and conclusion is useful for ascertaining the main arguments and context
  • read critically.