Note-Taking From Articles



Top Tips


  • Throw out your highlighter or at least hide it. It promotes less critical reading.

  • Keep an eye out for keywords or specific terminology in the text. Try to write your own definition for each.

  • Abstractions (larger ideas or themes) are usually tied to the reason the author is writing. What is the author’s motivation?

  • Differentiating High level Ideas vs. Specific Details is a key task for reading-to-write.

  • Select details from the article or relate details from your own background knowledge to explain these higher level ideas.

  • Question - How does the author approach the subject matter? What kinds of words are used? (What is the methodology? How are conclusions validated by university research techniques?)

  • What is the overall structure of the author’s work? How do the separate parts fit together?

  • Look at points in the article that feature repetition or summary; these are moments when authors often focus on their larger argument or thesis.

Giltrow, J. (2002). Academic writing: Writing and reading in the disciplines. Peterborough, On: Broadview Press.

Top Tips Handout

Reading to write

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Higher-level interpretive processes are required in reading and writing university research papers.

Learn how to critically approach your research reading by varying your note-taking to include concrete details and abstract concepts.


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