- LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 26 August 2014
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0110
- LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 26 August 2014
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0110
Note-taking aids student learning by allowing individuals to process and retain large amounts of information. Note-taking influences learning by helping students to attend to information and allows them to personalize the information they learn. Also, note-taking during lectures increases students’ attention and facilitates encoding of information to long-term memory. Several studies have shown that review is an important function of note-taking and aids in recall of lecture content. Note-taking is closely linked with one’s cognitive abilities, such as working memory, and facilitates learning and growth. Note-taking is often first introduced as a tool for learning in the academic setting and can be generalized in both personal and professional pursuits. Due to disparities in development and learning, note-taking is not an innate ability and may need to be explicitly taught. This is particularly important for individuals who have difficulty acquiring skills, such as students with learning disabilities. The use of technologically relevant interventions is appropriate for helping these populations access this crucial tool for learning.
Note-taking is a skill that is used by individuals almost every day and in different situations. Writing down information helps individuals to remember information and serves as a permanent record or external memory (see Benton, et al. 1993; Cohn, et al. 1995, both cited under Use of Note-Taking in Classes). At a minimum, people often jot down notes or information they want to remember or that serve as reminder of something to do later (Hartley 2002, Hawkins 2010). Initially, note-taking is presented as a academic tool for learning (Howe 1974). Kiewra 1987 highlights barriers to good note-taking skills and why it is important for students to overcome these. It allows the individual to record and retain information for later use. However, King 1992 states that note-taking should be paired with good study techniques to enhance learning. The skill sets developed, then, generalize to more professional settings. Note-taking is required for efficiency in an individual’s professional life (Kistin, et al. 2013; Langewitz, et al. 2009) and can also impact individual’s perception (Biesanz, et al. 1999). Notes serve different purposes depending upon the person, situation, or reason for recording notes (Bonner and Holliday 2006; Van Meter, et al. 1994).
Biesanz, J. C., S. L. Neuberg, T. N. Judice, and D. M. Smith. 1999. When interviewers desire accurate impressions: The effects of notetaking on the influence of expectations. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 29:2529–2549.
Provides an example of note-taking’s influence on processing of incoming information. In particular, this article looks at how note-taking facilitated a more unbiased view of an individual in a mock interview.
Bonner, J. M., and W. G. Holliday. 2006. How college science students engage in note-taking strategies. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 43:786–818.
Demonstrates that college students utilize notes during the majority of class lectures, lecture speed, and previous knowledge of topic affected their ability to take notes and they attempted to organize their notes during the lecture. This is consistent with Van Meter, et al. 1994. However, it contradicted Van Meter’s theory in finding that they had conscious awareness of writing notes verbatim or to paraphrase.
Hartley, J. 2002. Notetaking in non-academic settings: A review. Applied Cognitive Psychology 16:559–574.
Hartley synthesizes quantitative and qualitative research surrounding note-taking in a few non-academic situations: legal/jury duty, mental health/medical care, personal memory aid for older adults and brain-injured individuals, and occupational support. He argues that note-taking has the potential to aid recall of objective information in multiple settings.
Hawkins, M. 2010. Help them retain what you train. Training 47:12.
This shorter editorial article provides information on eight principles to increase memory retention. He argues that one must “invest” or come to lectures with a “retention mind-set.” Hawkins states that an individual must take notes, synthesize or organize the notes into a framework, reflect, and discuss information with others. One must actively apply learning, practice what was learned and teach what was learned to enhance retention. While informative, there is no research presented to support his argument.
Howe, M. J. A. 1974. The utility of taking notes as an aid to learning. Educational Research 16:222–227.
Howe is one the seminal authors on the importance of note-taking. This work will provide an understanding to the initial attempt to go beyond note-taking as a practice of mindless record-keeping to note-taking as a catalyst to learning, where the lack of strategy leads to failure to thrive in the educational setting.
Kiewra, K. A. 1987. Notetaking and review: The research and its implications. Instructional Science 16:233–249.
Kiewra is another key figure in note-taking research. This particular article provides an overview of the barriers students may face in the attempts to take good notes and how instructors could (and should) take an active role in its remediation.
King, A. 1992. Comparison of self-questioning, summarizing, and notetaking-review as strategies for learning from lectures. American Educational Research Journal 29:303–323.
Provides support for the necessity of strategy behind note-taking. Students who were trained in empirically supported study strategies after note-taking were better equipped to approach exams and therefore enhanced their learning during lectures.
Kistin, C. J., A. Barrero-Castillero, S. Lewis, R. Hoch, B. L. Philipp, H. Bauchner, and C. J. Wang. 2013. Maternal note-taking and infant care: A pilot randomised controlled trial. Archives of Disorders of Children 97:916–918.
Provides support to note-taking aiding the recall of medical information in young mothers. Mothers of newborns who were allowed to record notes on infant care were more likely to report remembering instructions (e.g., correct sleeping position for the infant) from the training at a two day follow-up.
Langewitz, W. A., Y. Loeb, M. Nubling, and S. Hunziker. 2009. From patient talk to physician notes: Comparing the content of medical interviews with medical records in a sample of outpatients in internal medicine. Patient Education and Counseling 76:336–340.
Offers an example of the use of note-taking outside the classroom. Randomly selected patient-doctor consultations were reviewed to investigate the quality of recording and documenting verbal information. Correlations were found between patient involvement and input in the consultation and quality of information recorded; however, overall, doctors only recorded a small percentage of verbal information provided in the consultation.
Van Meter, P., L. Yokoi, and M. Pressley. 1994. College students’ theory of note-taking derived from their perceptions of note-taking. Journal of Educational Psychology 3:323–338.
Self-perceived note-taking strategies were examined in college students in this article. It suggests that students are selective in what they code into notes, favoring important information over details, and use a variety of organizational tools (e.g., outlines, bullets, arrows). The students also identified contextual factors that affect their note-taking ability, namely lecture style and speed and previous knowledge of the lecture’s content.
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- Academic Achievement
- Academic Audit for Universities
- Academic Freedom and Tenure in the United States
- Action Research in Education
- Adjuncts in Higher Education in the United States
- Administrator Preparation
- Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Courses
- African American Racial Identity and Learning
- Alternative Schools
- American Indian Education
- Art Education
- Assessing School Leader Effectiveness
- Assessment, Behavioral
- Assessment, Educational
- Assessment in Early Childhood Education
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- Beginning-Teacher Induction
- Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
- Blended Learning
- Case Study in Education Research
- Changing Professional and Academic Identities
- Character Education
- Children’s and Young Adult Literature
- Children's Beliefs about Intelligence
- Children's Rights in Early Childhood Education
- Classroom Management
- College Admissions in the United States
- Community Relations
- Comparative Education
- Computer-Based Testing
- Counseling in Schools
- Critical Race Theory
- Crossborder and Transnational Higher Education
- Culturally Responsive Leadership
- Culturally Responsive Pedagogies
- Culturally Responsive Teacher Education in the United Stat...
- Curriculum Design
- Data Collection in Educational Research
- Data-driven Decision Making in the United States
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- Development, Moral
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- Distance Learning
- Distributed Leadership
- Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in Denmark
- Early Childhood Education and Development in Mexico
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- Economics of Education
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- Education Leadership, Empirical Perspectives in
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- Educational Statistics for Longitudinal Research
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- Epistemic Beliefs
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- Ethics of Teaching
- Ethnic Studies
- Family and Community Partnerships in Education
- Family Day Care
- Federal Government Programs and Issues
- Finance, Education
- Financial Aid
- Formative Assessment
- Gender and Achievement
- Gifted Education
- Global Mindedness and Global Citizenship Education
- Global University Rankings
- Governance, Education
- Grounded Theory
- Higher Education and Globalization
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- Higher Education Governance
- Higher Education in China
- Higher Education in the United States, Historical Evolutio...
- Higher Education, International Issues in
- Higher Education Policy
- Higher Education Research
- Higher Education Student Assessment
- High-stakes Testing
- History of Education in the United States
- Inclusive Education
- Indigenous Education in a Global Context
- Inservice Teacher Education
- Integrating Art across the Curriculum
- Intensive Interventions for Children and Adolescents with ...
- Intersectionality and Education
- Knowledge Development in Early Childhood
- Leadership Development, Coaching and Feedback for
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- Learning Difficulties
- Learning, Lifelong
- Learning, Multimedia
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- LGBT Youth in Schools
- Linguistic Diversity
- Linguistically Inclusive Pedagogy
- Literacy Development and Language Acquisition
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- Mathematics Teacher Education
- Measurement in Education in the United States
- Meta-Analysis and Research Synthesis in Education
- Methodologies for Conducting Education Research
- Mindfulness, Learning, and Education
- Mixed Methods Research
- Multivariate Research Methodology
- Music Education
- Narrative Research in Education
- Numeracy Education
- Online Education
- Pedagogy of Teacher Education, A
- Performance Objectives and Measurement
- Performance-based Research Assessment in Higher Education
- Performance-based Research Funding
- Phenomenology in Educational Research
- Philosophy of Education
- Physical Education
- Politics of Education
- Portable Technology for Special Education
- Pre-Service Teacher Education
- Problem Solving
- Professional Development
- Professional Learning Communities
- Program Evaluation
- Programs and Services for Students with Emotional or Behav...
- Psychology Learning and Teaching
- Psychometric Issues in the Assessment of English Language ...
- Qualitative Data Analysis Techniques
- Qualitative Research Design
- Quantitative Research Designs in Educational Research
- Race and Affirmative Action in Higher Education
- Reading Education
- Refugee and New Immigrant Learners
- Religion in Elementary and Secondary Education in the Unit...
- Researcher Development and Skills Training within the Cont...
- Response to Intervention
- Restorative Practices
- School Accreditation
- School Choice
- School Culture
- School Improvement through Inclusive Education
- School Reform
- Schools, Private and Independent
- School-Wide Positive Behavior Support
- Science Education
- Secondary to Postsecondary Transition Issues
- Self-Regulated Learning
- Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices
- Severe Disabilities
- Single Salary Schedule
- Single-sex Education
- Single-Subject Research Design
- Social Context of Education
- Social Justice
- Social Network Analysis
- Social Pedagogy
- Social Science and Education Research
- Social Studies Education
- Sociology of Education
- Statistical Assumptions
- Student Assignment Policy
- Student Engagement in Tertiary Education
- Student Participation
- Student Voice in Teacher Development
- Teacher Evaluation and Teacher Effectiveness
- Teacher Preparation
- Teacher Training and Development
- Teacher Unions and Associations
- Teaching Critical Thinking
- Technology Education in Early Childhood
- Technology, Educational
- The Regulation of Standards in Higher Education
- Theories of Educational Leadership
- Tracking and Detracking
- University Faculty Roles and Responsibilities in the Unite...
- Vocational and Technical Education
- Women's and Gender Studies