Hillcroft LRC

Posts Tagged ‘Palgrave

Taking notesA few weeks ago at an Institute of Customer Service Assessor’s Forum I was getting a refresher on note taking which is an essential part of the Professional Qualifications assessment process. If you are new to taking notes then The Palgrave Study Skills Making Notes page outlines the different styles you can try.

It’s worth learning about the Cornell method where you split the paper into areas so you have an area for making notes on, another for summarising the key points/words/questions and another for condensing the main ideas. Wiki How to Take Cornell Notes will help you try this out. It was created at Cornell University.

Another note taking method is the Charting one where you have headed columns so you can log subjects that similar into the same column. This handy document from California Polytechnic State University explains how it works.

The Palgrave Study Skills Making Notes complements the Charting one outlining how to use pattern notes to create two columns, two different colours of notes or notes on two different set of pages to then make connections between the notes. One set of notes is a summary of what you hear and the other is a related analysis of what you think of it. This is a useful for making sure you don’t use someone else’s words or ideas. In other words it helps you avoid plagiarism when you use the notes for an essay.

Pattern notes is another style Palgrave recommend where you have a key idea in the centre then branch out to create notes that relate to the main theme and look at it more in-depth. They suggest you can use particular shapes to make the other ideas stand out and then find an overall image to help you recall what the notes and ideas are. This will be very useful for exams and where you need to turn your notes into an essay. This style of note taking is also known as mind maps, spidergrams or concept maps.

It’s worth getting a copy of Jeanne Godfrey’s Reading and Making Notes which is part of the Pocket Study Skills guide which explains how to make notes in an easy-digestible format.

If you want to get digital savvy then Popplet is a handy app you can use for creating notes in a graphic way. Download it here for Android or iOS devices.

 

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Critical thinking booksStella Cottrell’s book Critical Thinking Skills: Developing Effective Analysis and Arguments is a guide that can take you from college to university. It helps you look at what you read in a different light by demonstrating and explaining how academic authors build up their arguments in their writing.

How does that help you? It will help you understand arguments and guides you into weighing up the logic of them. This will not only assist you in evaluating different authors’ opinions and theories but will also benefit you in developing your own writing style to convince your tutors of how you have assessed others’ work and built up your own arguments with persuasive evidence.

The book gets you to identify bias, hidden meanings and follow a line of reasoning to its logical conclusion. It’s not only useful for essay writing, reading and making notes from academic literature but is also invaluable for debating and any piece of writing or presentation where you would need to persuade your audience of your arguments.

Cottrell’s book gives you exercises to do to build up your skills of critique, analysis and argument. It’s one you can dip into time and time again. Having read it myself it’s easy to recognise that had a book like this existed when I was university it would have been a key to getting a top grade!

Palgrave who publish the book also have a free companion website area Critical Thinking which sits under their useful Study Skills website.

If you’re just starting your studies then the Pocket Guide by Kate Williams called Getting Critical is a good starter guide and similarly advises on reading with a critical eye and developing your writing skills so you are analytical too. We also have another Critical Thinking guide by Debra Hills. Hills’s guide gives you a definition and takes you through the steps in the process of reading and writing critically and has a number of tips on using sources, note taking and planning your answers.


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