Accessible Page Links

Page Tools

Main page Content

Evaluating sources


 How to evaluate a website


Note taking

There are number of benefits to taking effective notes, these include:

Taking notes when you are doing your background reading will help you to find and note the key ideas for your topic. It will also help you to understand what you are reading, rather than skimming over information.

If you take good notes you will be able to spot connections and patterns among concepts. This will help you to produce a more thorough and organised essay.

Taking notes when you read will also help you to stay focussed on what you are reading, rather than day dreaming about something else!

Cornell University

One effective note-taking system is The Cornell System, which was designed by Walter Pauk at Cornell University.

To use The Cornell System you will need a large loose-leaf handbook, you can insert class handouts, rearrange notes or remove notes when you wish to use them for study. (Source of information : Montgomery College)

You may wish to adapt this system to use online in order to easily keep track of useful online resources you have used.


This is what a template for Cornell note taking looks like:

Don't forget:

  • You need to keep details of the source of your notes so you can create your Reference List.
  • If you include exact words from the article in your notes, make sure you make it clear so you know which notes are your own words and which are the author's original words.

 Mr. Hixson does Cornell Notes


Note cards

You may prefer to simply use note cards for your notes.

Note cards can be particularly useful to keep track of direct quotes, your paraphrased sentences or summarisations.

It can be very frustrating to have to wade through piles of information to find a sentence that you were planning to use. It is therefore important to include reference information on each notecard. This should at least include the author, title and page number where you found the information.