It’s also a gentle way of introducing yourself to the task and putting yourself in the right frame of mind for learning about the topic at hand.If the topic is new to you and your brainstorm has yielded few ideas, you’ll need to acquire a basic understanding of the topic before you begin delving deeper into your research.
You may want to make use of small index cards to force you to be brief with what you write about each point or topic.
We’ve covered effective note-taking extensively in another article, which you can read here.
Preparing for an essay – by conducting effective research – lays the foundations for a brilliant piece of writing, and it’s every bit as important as the actual writing part.
Many students skimp on this crucial stage, or sit in the library not really sure where to start; and it shows in the quality of their essays.
Note-taking is a major part of the research process, so don’t neglect it.
Your notes don’t just come in useful in the short-term, for completing your essay, but they should also be helpful when it comes to revision time, so try to keep them organised.
Think of an upside-down pyramid and how it starts off wide at the top and becomes gradually narrower; this is the sort of framework you should apply to your research.
Library computer databases can be confusing things, and can add an extra layer of stress and complexity to your research if you’re not used to using them.
If you write down too much, you risk writing an essay that’s full of irrelevant material and getting lower grades as a result.
Be concise, and summarise arguments in your own words when you make notes (this helps you learn it better, too, because you actually have to think about how best to summarise it).