Reading and Making Notes

In the search for the right material for your essay you will without a doubt amass a great deal of material and therefore it is necessary that you initiate precise note making. A great place to begin is to construct a file on your computer to record your source material, but make sure it is divided up it into the different components of your essay (for example, if you are composing a dissertation, you may like to add parts such as an introduction, a background, the methodology, a literature appraisal, examples, a conclusion and some further suggestions). Once done, copy all of the sections, quotes, statistics and other source material that you may locate, ensure that you write down the exact place where the information was found. Every source can be put into the part where it will be best utilised. Doing this will provide an approximate foundation for the time when you commence writing and this will assist you to formulate a route of which your essay is expected to follow once appropriate information has been found.

There are some fundamental issues to consider when making notes for your essay and these are:

  • Make a note of everything you find that can be put to good use, and the precise location where it was located it. This should be inclusive of page numbers and the search terms used.
  • If  the essay to  be written asks for a “For” and “Against” argument then ensure your document has a specific place to insert the information for both sides of the discussion.

In the process of reading and making notes from your sources, often certain ideas and questions become highlighted and you might wish to return to those ideas later. Make sure you either put an asterisk or put these ideas in specific boxes to ensure easy access.

The analysis stage of your essay is of great importance, as it is of little use just simply summarising the material. You will not score good marks by doing this as this is only regurgitating other people’s ideas. There is an absolute necessity to embed your own ideas into your essay as this both shows understanding and your analytical ability.