Taking Useful Notes

Do your notes on a text usually consist of lots of quotations and nothing else? While quotes can be important (see Using Sources), they reduce a big complicated text into a series of soundbites, which doesn’t help you make critical assessments. Instead of writing down a series of potentially unrelated quotations, you should consider the text as a whole.


If you have to describe the argument of a text in your own words, you are far less likely to accidentally plagiarize another author’s words.

In Understanding Sources you learned a method for how to read sources. In this section you will learn how to apply that method by producing an annotated bibliography.