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Note-taking - Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

  • Assess your current listening and note-taking skills and plan strategies for improvement
  • Demonstrate active listening strategies
  • Practice two approaches for systematic note-taking

Exercise 1: How do you currently take notes?

  • What method(s) have you used up until this point?
  • How successful are these methods for you and why?
  • Are there barriers you face with this method?
  • Are your method(s) effective when listening to a lecture? How about when researching reading sources while doing research?

TED Talk - Use Your Current Method

Exercise 2: Listen to this TED Talk and use your current method of note-taking (4.07 to end).

What UR Professors Say...


Common Note-taking Methods

Strategies when taking notes:


Listen to the lecture or read the article, put it aside and write a few sentences about what you remember.



Read the article and, any time an idea or question pops into your head, write it down near the quote that sparked the idea. See example below:

Journal article with annotations


BEAM Method

Read the article and, as you read, classify each phrase or paragraph according to BEAM.
B for background information
E for examples or exhibits
A for arguments found in your reading
M for methodologies used in discovering information

Eg. Is it background information? Write B beside the phrase. See example below:

article with B, E, A, and M notations in different paragraphs

BEAM method: B for background (basic facts, definitions, general information), E for exhibit (results, answers, claims), A for argument (explain, justify, prove), and M for method (theory, style, perspective)


 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License by Justina Elmore, University of Rochester.  Adapted from Kristin M. Woodward & Kate Ganski's "What Could A Writer Do With This Source?" {{cc-by-4.0}}

Visual Note-taking/Sketch Noting

Sketchnoting. (18 Feb. 2019). Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License by Amytangg on Wikimedia Commons.

Pro tip: Take note of time stamps for videos and page numbers for books & articles to save time flipping through or re-reading to locate the section you need.


Exercise 4: Test drive a new (to you) method
Take one of these methods you don't usually use for a test run using the practice article provided.