It is useful to think of active reading like a treasure hunt, rather than attempting to soak up and absorb every single detail you come across, it is best to be active in your search for information and pick out the most relevant and key points from the material. Effective note-taking is a key aspect in critically reading: the better your notes, the easier it will be to transfer and use this information in your critical writing.
Five key factors of effective note-taking:
1) Record the full reference before starting to take notes from the material
You'll thank yourself later when you use a specific quote or source for supporting evidence in your assignment and can easily access the original piece of work for reference. It also helps when you're then needing to put an in-text citation with a page number and you already have this information at hand in your notes.
2) Be Selective
There is a risk in note-taking of either being too brief, and therefore not fully providing the necessary information or too detailed, and therefore providing more information than is actually necessary. Be selective!
3) Question the relevancy of your note
4) Write down your ideas or responses to the material
Capture your thinking behind the relevancy of the note you've made. Try to show your engagement with the texts as by emphasising your critical analysis of the material within your notes, this will help to retain this criticality when using these notes in your essays.
5) Organise your notes effectively
When gathering information related to your essay, make notes in your own words.
We advise to keep records of what you are reading organising the materials by key topics.
By organising the materials by key topics you can start to
Topic: the impact of Brexit on the economy
issues to be researched and discussed:
"Trade will diminish...." (Smith 2019, p9)
The manufacturing sector is predicted to experience growth... (Taylor 2018)
Banks are retreating from London... (The Banking Times 2019)
Passporting is an issue (Dickenson 2018)
Scotts (2019) and Taylor (2018) disagree on the future of British Universities. Scotts maintains that... (2019, p.231). Taylor (2018, p 45) points out that...
"Tax revenues will increase as..." (Dickenson 2018, p67)
In the long-term tax revenues will decrease... " (Smith 2019, p13)