How to make essay notes

Different people have different styles of making notes when working with sources. However, there are some universal tips on note making that can make your library hours more efficient. You should definitely make a note when you come across the following things:

A piece of interesting statistical data

Whenever your source features the interesting piece of statistics relevant to your paper, you should note it down. Statistics helps us illustrate and support the arguments in our essays, adding weight to our statements. Whether you want to prove that children brought up in same sex marriages don’t obligatory grow up homosexual, or that prohibition always boosts black market, you can't be persuasive without citing some figures. Sometimes we come across a piece of information we don't know yet how to utilize, but it may come up later and become useful in making a future argument. It is good to have this piece of information noted, especially if you are continuously doing research on the same subject. Recent academic articles are good source of statistical evidence, but so are government portals or opinion polls. Just make sure you use a reliable source.

A memorable quote relevant to your essay research

Even when we are writing about a certain personality and their ideas, we much more often use paraphrasing than direct quotation. This happens simply because writing essays is about creating your own text that is the result of processing somebody else’s writings and ideas. However, sometimes it is appropriate to use direct quotation – if it is concise and serves best to illustrate what you are talking about. Direct quotation can be something said or written by a person relevant to your topic, or a quote from a book if you are, for example, writing a book report. We often use direct quotations for definitions, when we want to be precise about how a certain notion was / is understood in certain circles. It is easy to forget direct quotations, and it is important to keep them in mind for your essay, so be sure to write them down whenever you come across the one you might later use.

An idea that you need to paraphrase to comprehend

Sometimes you need to paraphrase the idea to fully comprehend it. It requires making notes, and is a similar process to taking notes during the lecture. You can write not in full sentences and use abbreviations, since you will not be using these notes in your essay, you just need them as part of your working process.

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