Note taking and Reading Strategies
Note taking Strategies
Three strategies related to notetaking are recommended for political science courses (K. Buchanan, CAL).
The Cornell format of notetaking works well with any political science course in which lectures are the primary means of presenting a great deal of information.
Textbook Note taking
Try using the textbook as a template for recording lecture notes. Some textbooks have large margins and chapter headings are clearly marked. Just add the instructor's comments in the appropriate section of the chapter.
Review lecture notes daily for each day the class meets. Check for clarity, accuracy, completeness, and understanding.
Several strategies related to reading are recommended for political science courses (M. Hartman, C. Krause, CAL).
Political science texts are often arranged topically, chronologically, or regionally. The latter two formats often require that one read early chapters in order to fully understand later chapters. Pay attention to section headings, subheadings, and italicized words.
The SQ3R reading strategy, which involves surveying, questioning, reading, reciting and reviewing, is useful for most expository political science courses. However, the strategy may not be useful for courses related to law.
While or after reading a chapter, students are encouraged to form an outline of the main topics and corresponding supporting details. Most texts have informative headings and subheadings that are in outline format already. In this case, students simply paraphrase the main idea(s) under each heading for their outlines. The outlines, in turn, may be used during class for notetaking or for test preparation.
While reading a chapter, students may take notes or write questions and explanations in the margin of the text.
Pay close attention to terms and concepts introduced in the readings. Familiar words may have new and specialized meanings in political science, so readers must be careful.
Major Ideas and Emphasis
Political science readings often stress particular theories with supporting evidence. Be careful not to confuse what is fact and what is theory or opinion.