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Mr. Zibel - Freshmen Research Paper Period 8/9: Notes

Check for Understanding

I took notes which

__ related directly to my topic

__ contain subtopics and words which identifying the source

__ answer most of my questions

__ paraphrase or summarize the source

__ are in my own words

__ put quotes around the author's words

__ have citations that I put in my account

Note Taking Process

1. Skim. Skim through the article first to know whether it will or will not be useful.
2. Read.  Read AND understand what you've read.  Read an entire paragraph or section AND state verbally or in writing what you have just read.
3. Select.  Be picky.  Only write down notes that will be useful later in writing the paper. 
4. Record.  Remember to jot down the source information.

Note Taking Sheet

You may only use the provided note taking sheet.  You will handwrite your notes and fill out the "source" cards completely.

Taking Notes

“How do I put what I'm reading into my own words?”

  • Don’t copy word-for-word unless you plan on using it later as a quotation.
  • Abbreviate and use incomplete sentences, as long as you understand them.
  • Make a mini outline of key points (Main Idea - Sub Idea) for long paragraphs.
  • Don't just substitute words here and there.  This is considered plagiarism because you're still using the writer's style. 
  • Test yourself!  Read a paragraph until you feel you understand it.  Without looking, write down what you remember.  Go back and read the original work to make sure that the words are different but the meaning is the same.

Quotes, Paraphrases, and Summaries

There are three ways to take notes:

  1. Quotations.  These are identical to the original source.  When note taking, put “quotation marks” around the words.  Quotations are helpful to support your points, but shouldn’t overwhelm your paper.    A paper filled with quotations doesn’t reflect your thoughts or opinions, just repeats those of others.
  2. Paraphrasing. This means taking a paragraph or section from the source and putting it into your own words.  Most of your notes should be paraphrases.  Paraphrased material is usually shorter than the original.
  3. Summarizing. This means taking the main idea(s) of a paragraph or section and putting it into your own words. Summaries are shorter than paraphrases and take a broader view of the source material.


“What is Plagiarism?”

To "plagiarize" is to present someone else's writing or ideas as your own.  One way is to copy something word for word without using quotation marks.  Another way is when you substitite a word or two in a sentence, but the phrasing is mostly intact.  But you also plagiarize when you use someone's ideas without giving them credit.  When you don't cite your sources, you tell the audience that YOU came up with these ideas. 

To give credit, you need parenthetical citations and the source needs to be listed at the end of your paper in a “Works Cited” (MLA format).

“But I didn't mean to plagiarize!”

Students sometimes plagiarize unintentionally. You know that copying and pasting from the Internet is plagiarism. But plagiarism also includes:

  • copying phrases unique to someone's writing style without using quotes
  • stating ideas and information that were researched, organized, and interpreted by someone else without proper citing.  This includes your paraphrases and summaries from your notes.

Even if you don’t use a direct quotation, you still need to cite the source.  In fact, anything not considered common knowledge, needs a citation.   

Rule of thumb: If you didn't know it before you read it, then it isn't "common knowledge."

From Purdue University's OWL site:

The original passage:
Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers. 2nd ed. (1976): 46-47.

A plagiarized version:
Students often use too many direct quotations when they take notes, resulting in too many of them in the final research paper. In fact, probably only about 10% of the final copy should consist of directly quoted material.

This is a common example of plagiarism. The student just changed certain words.  For example, "overuse" is replaced with "use too many.” This is considered plagiarism because the student is using the exact meaning and sentence structure of the author.  The student also did not provide a parenthetical citation.

An acceptable paraphrase:
In research papers, students often rely too much on quotations.  No more than 10% of a research paper should be quoted material.  Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential for students to use their own words.  (Lester 46-47).

An acceptable summary:
Students should note just a few direct quotes to help minimize the amount of quoted material in a research paper (Lester 46-47).

Use to cite with MLA.  You need to register with easybib.  When you register, enter the Montytech password to get the school account.