Noting Details

(1) to get the main idea of a reading selection;
(2) to develop a bird’s-eyeview of the selection;
(3) to prepare for an examination;
(4) to write a particular data/important information. You will find it useful to make notes as a record of what you have read;
(5) to take not of the background of a story/selection;
(6) to prepare for a report or presentation, and
(7) to facilitate understanding of a difficult issue.

(1) to clear about your focus in taking down notes. It is important- before you begin to make your notes, that your purpose in making them is clear and what you want to get from them; (2) Underline or highlight important information; (3) You can write notes including the page number of the reading material in a separate notebook for the future reference.

Guide to reading and noting

1. Make a note of the source. You will need this information to complete your footnotes/endnotes and references. Making an accurate record at this point will save time later.

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 2. Critically review your reading matter. This is a vital initial step to help you get an overview of the text and decide whether it is relevant. It should only take a few minutes. Look at the contents, introduction, titles and headings, the author, date of publication, and index. If there are introductions, abstracts, or chapter summaries, read these first. Briefly examine any lists of key points, dates or events. This technique will save you time and allow you to quickly discard any texts that are not relevant.

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If you’d like more information about how to decide if texts are relevant to your purpose, visit the evaluating information section of infosuss.

3. Question. After you have gained a superficial understanding of the text, note down any question that comes to mind. Also ask yourself what you are expecting to get out of the book, chapter or article. What is the purpose of your reading? This will help keep your reading active and maintain your concentration level. 4. Select. Once you have decided that the text is relevant you will want to select the most useful sections to read in more detail. Have another look at the contents and headings to help pinpoint the sections to focus on. If you are looking for a particular piece of information you should scan the section for the required details.


Avoid getting too absorbed in a particular text at this stage; if something is especially interesting, make a note and plan a time to read it later when you have a better overview.

5. By now you will have narrowed down what you are going to read and what you aim to get out of your reading. The topic sentence is usually the first sentence of the paragraph and will typically outline the key point. The bulk of the paragraph often takes this point, explains, develops and illustrates it. The concluding sentence often returns to the idea in the topic sentence and explains how the bulk of the paragraph has modified or developed it. In most instances if you want to know what a paragraph is about, read the first sentence. If you want to know how the author has developed this idea, read the concluding sentence too.

6. Revisit the questions you asked yourself. Can you answer them? If so, you can begin to write out your notes, setting out the main points as you remember them. If not, it may be useful to re-read the source or it may be that the text is not relevant and you should discard it.

7. Review and reflect on your notes. Ask yourself whether your notes have fulfilled the purpose of your reading. Have you missed anything? Are there points that need expanding? Annotate your notes with any afterthoughts or new questions that you think of.


Cite this page

Noting Details. (2016, Dec 13). Retrieved from

Noting Details

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