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Read and absorb the information you find

Absorbing information

People often highlight information that they want to retain. That is a good start but learning is stronger when we hand write notes about the material. Here are two other strategies to help you retain information from the resources you collect:

  1. Hand write bullet points to capture the ideas. For each chunk of information (perhaps a paragraph, or a grouping of paragraphs) write a few descriptive words in the margin of the printout or on a sticky note that you can attach to the page. Then when you need to review the material you can quickly glance through the your notes rather than re-read/skim the original text. 
  2. Taking this idea a little further, put the resource away after you have read a chunk of text and write out your own summary of the important ideas. The summarizing will make the information more personally meaningful to you. Make sure to note where you retrieved the information, though, so finding the original source can be  quick and easy if you decide to paraphrase the text in your paper.

If you're not fond of sticky notes you can consider using a digital tool such as a citation manager to help you electronically store and organize your readings and reflections. This approach to note taking is supposed to be less powerful than hand writing, but the result can be more durable. The next page will explain citation managers in more detail.

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