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Note Taking


Though all of the methods below do have empirical support, Guided Notes have increasingly been shown to be a superior note-taking technique (Narjaikaew, Emarat, & Cowie, 2009). Researchers recommend that teachers leave blanks where children are required to fill in 2-3 words and recommend that the length of the blanks vary to maintain student attention (Konrad, Joseph, & Ioti, 2011). Further, these researchers suggested that teachers use blanks of single words only for students with disabilities.


Overall, non-linear note-taking methods (denoted with an asterisk below) are considered to be the most effective (Kiewra, DuBois, Christia, McShane, Meyerhoffer, & Roskelley, 1991), though most students use linear methods naturally. It is important that students be taught note-taking skills.


For more information head to our Note Taking Software pages.


Research Rating: Due to the experimental nature of the information cited in this description this information is to be trusted as valid and reliable

Special Consideration: Workflow

OS Compatibility
Internet Reliance
Optimized Use

Exact prices change frequently, which is why only approximate ranges are listed. 

$ - Under $5

$$ - Between $6 and $50

$$$ - Between $51 and $250

$$$$ - Over $250


Anderson, T. H., & Armbruster, B. B. (1986). The value of taking notes during lectures. technical report no. 374. Retrieved from

Austin, J. L., Lee, M. G., Thibeault, M. D., Carr, J. E., & Bailey, J. S. (2002). Journal of Behavioral Education, 11, 243-254.

Canas, A. J., Coffey, J. W., Carnot, M. J., Feltovich, P., Hoffman, R. R., Feltovich, J. et al. (2003). A summary of literature pertaining to the use of concept mapping techniques and technologies for education and performance support. Report to the Chief of Naval Education and Training Pensacola FL 32500.

Kiewra, K. A., DuBois, N. F., Christian, D., McShane, A., Meyerhoffer, M., & Roskelley, D. (1991). Note-taking functions and techniques. Journal of Educational Psychology, 83, 240-245.

Konrad, M., Joseph, L. M., & Itoi, M. (2011). Using guided notes to enhance instruction for all students. Intervention in School and Clinic, 46, 131-140.

Makany, T., Kemp, J., & Dror, I. E. (2009). Optimising the use of note-taking as an external cognitive aid for increasing learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 40(4), 619-635.

Narjaikaew, P., Emarat, N., & Cowie, B. (2009). The effect of guided note taking during lectures on Thai university students' understanding of electromagnetism.Research in Science & Technological Education, 27, 75-94.

O’Donnell, A. M., Dansereau, D. F. & Hall, R. F. (2002). Knowledge maps as scaffolds for cognitive processing. Educational Psychology Review, 14, 71–86.

Palmatier, R. A. (1971). Comparison of four note-taking procedures. Journal of Reading, 14, 235-258.

Pauk, W. (2001). How to study in college. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

Smith, P. L., & Tompkins, G. E. (1988). Structured notetaking: A new strategy for content area readers. Journal of Reading, 32(1), 46-53.


Written by Bronwyn Lamond, Last Revision October 2016

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