Taking Notes

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Chapter 3: Taking Notes

The good student takes down notes when listening to a teacher’s lecture. In the same way, the good researcher takes down notes whenever he comes across a source relevant to his research. Research note taking saves the researcher a lot of time and effort. It allows him to refer to his sources without having to “re-search” for the source from which they were originally taken. In the beginning, it might seem that the rigid rules of note taking are stifling, rather than facilitating your research, but in the long run, note taking, if done correctly and diligently, will make the research process loads easier. Research note taking, though, is a specialized skill, quite different from lecture note taking. There are several techniques in research note taking that will enable you to make efficient use of your time and avoid the

“P” word.

What’s the



Eloisa P. Ventura (1999), author of On Your Own: Doing Research Without Plagiarizing, writes (p. 2),


comes from the Latin word for thief, plunderer, hunting net, and kidnapper, and can be considered as outright stealing of another person’s ideas [boldface italics and emphasis mine].



Before we discuss, in detail, the technicalities of plagiarism, try and answer the following short pop quiz on plagiarism.

Activity 3.1:

What is Plagiarism?

Read each situation below. If you think that the situation is one where plagiarism takes place, write the capital letter “P” in the space before each item. Otherwise, write the capital letters “NP.” Wesley, a varsity basketball player, intended to do his research paper, but the championship game fell on the day before the paper’s deadline, so the next day, he passed his older brother’s third year research paper as his own. Martin found useful information on boxing for his paper. He took information from the website, paraphrased it correctly, and put it in his paper. Because he paraphrased the information correctly, he found no need to cite the source. Francis found a book on tropical fish and in his paper, reworded information from the source. He fully intended to cite the source, but made a careless mistake in spelling the author’s name as “Wegster” instead of “Webster.” Heinrich took a line from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, put the line in quotation marks, and cited the author’s name and the publication’s date. He merely forgot to include the number of the page from which he took the line, which he is supposed to do. Ivan needed to complete a research paper on basketball. He found an essay on basketball that suited his needs perfectly, so he took the source, invented sources for the information in it, and passed the paper as his own work. Pierre tried his best to complete a research paper, but he just couldn’t do one properly, so he paid his best friend, Jesley, to finish the job. Gladwin completed a paper on Elvis Presley. He cited all his sources but merely failed to put in quotation marks information he copied from www.elvis.com. However, he did put the proper citation for the website in his references. Glenn diligently completed his research paper, but due to being in too much of a hurry, simply interchanged the names of two of his sources. As a result, he mixed up the quotes he attributed to the authors.

_____ 1.

_____ 2.

_____ 3.

_____ 4.

_____ 5.

_____ 6. _____ 7.

_____ 8.


So, how many “P” answers did you have?
Stephen Wilhoit (cited in Ventura, 1999) classifies plagiarism into the following categories:

1. submitting a paper bought from someone who makes money by selling papers. 2. submitting a paper that someone else, whether paid or unpaid, has written 3. copying a paper from a source without properly acknowledging the source 4. copying materials from a source with an acknowledgement but without quotation marks 5. paraphrasing materials from a source...
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