Note Taking

Taking accurate notes is the first step in avoiding accidental plagiarism. Good note-taking skills allow you to identify exactly what information came from what source, and will help prevent any last minute misunderstandings, lapses in memory, or confusion over the origin of a given point, quotation, or idea. Good notes can also save a lot of time because they provide a reliable record for double checking sources.

To take better notes, it is important to:
  • Record all bibliographic information in your notes to avoid having to go back and search for the source when you're in the process of writing your essay/assignment.
  • Make it clear when you are using your own words and when you are citing a source directly (you may want to color code your notes to indicate this important distinction).
  • Keep track of what ideas and quotations go with what source and where (even when paraphrasing a source, be sure to keep an accurate record of page numbers!).