Essay Tips: How to Read, Take Notes On and Understand Journal Articles and Academic Papers

So today I was going to do a video that was all about the various bit of literature.

I’ve been reading recently but then I thought what might be useful potentially to others is if I show you my method for reading and taking notes on journal articles papers essays and books so here I’ve got a paper that I first read yesterday called cosmopolitan cities the frontier in the 21st century and I’m already halfway through my process of kind of reading and taking notes upon this particular paper.

So as you might be able to see I’ve already gone through and highlighted lots of different bits now I tend to use both highlighting and note-taking but I use them both in a slightly different way as I’ve highlighted something it essentially means that I can go back and I can read through this paper the next time much quicker than previously so what I tend to do is pick out sentences that kind of describe the rest of a paragraph so in the abstract might be a little bit more highlighted than later on where it starts to get a bit more sparse where I’ve highlighted and where I’ve happened so in a sociology paper like this particularly what I’m looking for is anywhere where it explains in a simple sentence what the study is that’s going to be carried out or perhaps explains in a simple sentence the findings so here we can see for example that the author’s have said that we conceptualize cosmopolitan cities as urban areas whose cultures emphasize values including autonomy freedom and gala terian and mutual respect now that is not only useful for my reading of the article but also for my writing later on.

So that’s where my notes start to come in so here is Evernote which is a note taking application and what I’m going to do is I’m going to make a new note and I’m going to call it cosmopolitan cities the frontier in the 21st century what you like wonderful what I also do and I stole this tip from as a thesis Whisperer is that I use the tags in here so I’ve already got a folder called PhD but that’s got as well as notes on literature that’s also got some administrative note notes on supervisions so what I’m going to do is I’m also going to tag this one literature notes and I’m going to tag it with the names of the author’s tagging it with the names of the author’s means that when I’m continuing my reading I might be able to group together some of the work by grouping it together as a body of work by particular author.

The first thing I’m going to do in the actual body of the note is I always jot down the reference for the particular article I’m working on this is really useful as I found previously I’ve done awful lot of searching for a reference for a particular book or a particular article and I’ve had to go back to the article and find it if it’s in my notes then it’s dead I can just copy it down and bung it in a bibliography where I’m likely to use it so if the reference now jot it down what I’m going to do is start to scan through and look for bits that I might pull out that might actually become useful for my writing later now this will differ to what I’ve highlighted because my goal with highlighting is that I can come back and scan through the article and if I’m looking for something in particular I can use the highlighted sections as a bit of orientation to find what I’m looking for the bits that I jot down will often be bits I’ve also highlighted but I won’t drop down everything dive highlighted if that makes sense so the first thing I’m going to do is I’m going to jot down this quote that I found a little bit earlier and as you can see what I do is I always put the full inline citation at the end of the sentence this is a personal thing just it helps me get the author’s names and dates in my head so that they’re a bit more stuck in there it can be a bit repetitive of somewhere but it does really help to kind of lock that in now there’s something doubly interesting on this particular quote here.

So I’m really interested in how we define a cosmopolitan or metropolitan city as opposed to a non cosmopolitan or non metropolitan city and that’s why I’ve taken that particular quote there what it’s also got its got reference to and work by mustering but in 2005 so I’m also going to do is down the bottom of my note-taking article I’m going to do a quick to read section where I’m going to put muster in 2005 which means that when I gets the end of the article I can copy down all of the things that I think I should go and read from this article and I can search those out and read those articles as well and that very simply is my note-taking method for reading and understanding papers so it’s highlighting for reading and being able to go back and scan the article it’s note-taking for things that I might be able to use directly in my work other note-taking options obviously do exist and if your methods differs from mine then please do let me know down in the comment it’s always really useful to find out how people go from taking a massive body of literature and taking out the work that they need of course.

If you have enjoyed this video I’m thinking about maybe doing some more little things like desks that kind of give an insight into my kind of academic process so if you’ve enjoyed this then do hit the subscribe button curious.