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A Learning Secret: Don’t Take Notes with a Laptop

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❶Afterward, they found that the students who used laptops typed significantly more words than those who took notes by hand.

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2. Don’t write down too much

Mueller and Oppenheimer cited that note-taking can be categorized two ways: Generative note-taking pertains to "summarizing, paraphrasing, concept mapping," while nongenerative note-taking involves copying something verbatim. And there are two hypotheses to why note-taking is beneficial in the first place. The first idea is called the encoding hypothesis, which says that when a person is taking notes, "the processing that occurs" will improve "learning and retention.

Because people can type faster than they write, using a laptop will make people more likely to try to transcribe everything they're hearing. So on the one hand, Mueller and Oppenheimer were faced with the question of whether the benefits of being able to look at your more complete, transcribed notes on a laptop outweigh the drawbacks of not processing that information.

On the other hand, when writing longhand, you process the information better but have less to look back at. For their first study, they took university students the standard guinea pig of psychology and showed them TED talks about various topics. Afterward, they found that the students who used laptops typed significantly more words than those who took notes by hand. When testing how well the students remembered information, the researchers found a key point of divergence in the type of question.

For questions that asked students to simply remember facts, like dates, both groups did equally well. Instead, they listen, digest, and summarize so that they can succinctly capture the essence of the information. By contrast, when typing students can easily produce a written record of the lecture without processing its meaning, as faster typing speeds allow students to transcribe a lecture word for word without devoting much thought to the content.

To evaluate this theory, Mueller and Oppenheimer assessed the content of notes taken by hand versus laptop. Their studies included hundreds of students from Princeton and UCLA, and the lecture topics ranged from bats, bread, and algorithms to faith, respiration, and economics. Content analysis of the notes consistently showed that students who used laptops had more verbatim transcription of the lecture material than those who wrote notes by hand.

Moreover, high verbatim note content was associated with lower retention of the lecture material. It appears that students who use laptops can take notes in a fairly mindless, rote fashion, with little analysis or synthesis by the brain. This kind of shallow transcription fails to promote a meaningful understanding or application of the information. If the source of the advantage for longhand notes derives from the conceptual processes they evoke, perhaps instructing laptop users to draft summative rather than verbatim notes will boost performance.

Mueller and Oppenheimer explored this idea by warning laptop note takers against the tendency to transcribe information without thinking, and explicitly instructed them to think about the information and type notes in their own words.

Despite these instructions, students using laptops showed the same level of verbatim content and were no better in synthesizing material than students who received no such warning. It is possible these direct instructions to improve the quality of laptop notes failed because it is so easy to rely on less demanding, mindless processes when typing.

In real classroom settings, however, students are often assessed days if not weeks after learning new material. Thus, although laptop users may not encode as much during the lecture and thus may be disadvantaged on immediate assessments, it seems reasonable to expect that the additional information they record will give them an advantage when reviewing material after a long delay. Taking Notes How to Take Notes First of all, make sure that you record all necessary and appropriate information: What to Put into Notes When you take notes, your job is not to write everything down, nor is it a good idea to give into the temptation of photocopying pages or articles.

How to Use Idea Cards While doing your research you will be making connections and synthesizing what you are learning. How to Work with Notes After you take notes, re-read them. Then re-organize them by putting similar information together. Working with your notes involves re-grouping them by topic instead of by source. Re-group your notes by re-shuffling your index cards or by color-coding or using symbols to code notes in a notebook.

Review the topics of your newly-grouped notes. If the topics do not answer your research question or support your working thesis directly, you may need to do additional research or re-think your original research.

During this process you may find that you have taken notes that do not answer your research question or support your working thesis directly. Don't be afraid to throw them away.

1. Know what kind of ideas you need to record

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The Cornell note-taking method can be applied to taking notes for research. The method helps you retain information. The Cornell system is done on regular notebook paper .

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Steps in Writing a Research Paper; Taking Notes; Taking Notes How to Take Notes. First of all, make sure that you record all necessary and appropriate information: author, title, publisher, place of publication, volume, span of pages, date. It's probably easiest to keep this basic information about each sources on individual 3x5 or 4x6 notecards.

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Research Paper: Take Notes. After you've gathered your sources, begin reading and taking notes. Use 3 x 5 index cards, one fact or idea per card. Taking Purposeful Research Notes research paper; it is even more important than the actual writing of the paper. Why? Because having useful, organized notes This is because the process of taking notes is time-consuming and arduous, and, especially for many students with learning disabilities, the idea of writing down a significant.

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You will use research note cards to collect all the information necessary to write your term paper--which includes the details you need for your bibliography notes. You should take extreme care as you create these note cards, because any time you leave out a single detail, you are creating more work for yourself. If you take notes efficiently, you can read with more understanding and also save time and frustration when you come to write your paper. These are three main principles.