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5 February 2018

How to Note-take, Summarise and Paraphrase

Student Life

As obvious and as easy as it sounds, there are many people who are unsure how to note-take or how to organise their notes that would help them best. You may be thinking why should I take notes?

This weeks post will answer your questions and after reading and following this, you’ll be an expert at note-taking!


It is a memory aid 

  • Helps with referencing
  • Helps avoid unintended plagiarism

Pattern recognition

  • Helps you recognise different perspectives on a particular issue
  • Helps summarise results
  • Helps organise your essay

Production & Interpretation of ideas 

  • By taking notes, you actively interact with the source and read critically
  • Taking notes can help clarify your views, come up with ideas or help you create an argument for your essay
  • The organised notes can structure your essay

Note taking is essential before writing an essay.

See my previous blog post for more about How to Write an Essay at University:

When you have taken good notes and organised them, you’ve already started your essay and it is in a good structure.


  • Central views/results that are relevant to the essay question
  • Quotations e.g. definitions
  • Views/results that support or contradict your or other researchers views/results.

 Ensure to have the author’s name, book name and page number.


  • Read through your source and highlight the relevant information
  • Read the source again, focusing on the highlighted parts and take notes. (it is useful to re-read as you may have missed key information and you may not have fully understood it the first time)
  • Organise your notes, ensuring everything you have written is accurate e.g. statistics or quotes for definitions
  • When paraphrasing- summarise in your own words but make sure you are accurately reflecting on the content of the source.


  • Summarise the paragraph, the topic, the chapter etc.
  • Summarise results, concepts, views
  • Note which sources support each other e.g. Source 1 supports Source 3, 5 & 7
  • Note which sources contradict each other e.g. Source 2 contradicts Source 4, 6 & 8


  • Re-write sentences using your own words
  • Use synonyms to help you
  • Change the order of the sentence


Hope this has been useful. If you have any questions, feel free to email me on

By Roshni Dhodakia

I am a third-year student at Edge Hill University, studying English Language. I hope that my blog posts are enjoyable and useful. Feel free to ask me any questions or leave me any suggestions. I hope to hear from you soon and thank you for reading!

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