Using diagrammatic & linear notes
Tony Buzan, in his book Use Your Head (BBC Publications, 1974) puts forward a model for note-taking based on the use of diagrammatic, or "pattern", notes:
- Pattern notes begin in the centre of the page and branch outwards in all directions like a road map.
- Adding a new topic is like adding a major road, with reference and other material branching off to form side roads.
- Links between sections can be made with dotted lines or arrows (like proposed roads or by-passes).
Figure 1: Spider diagram
Advantages of diagrammatic note taking:
- allows the structuring of complex relationships.
- open-ended - new material can be inserted at any point
- ideal for planning essays -various models of your topic can be developed without having to scrap one version in favour of another.
- links between important points can be shown.
- visual nature aids recall.
|Diagrammatic Notes (PDF opens in new window)|
Re-organisation to the layout of your notebook may well prove beneficial:
- Use loose-leaf note-books so that you can incorporate additional relevant material later.
- Learn to recognise anecdotal material - you rarely need to record this.
- Make use of the planned structure of the lecture to help you set out your notes.
In order to develop a consistent style:
- Use headings, sub-headings, bullet points and indentations to identify and separate the various components of the lecture.
- Use abbreviations / stars / dashes / underlining / colour etc. to emphasize main points and connections.
- Develop your own shorthand for recurring themes, technical terms, formulae etc.
- Use diagrams as visual keys, even if you don’t use "pattern notes" generally.
- Group references and notes on further reading to give them more prominence.
- Cross-reference lecture notes to course-work or private study.
- File your notes carefully and consistently.
- Standardise your page layout in order to identify the type of material you are dealing with.
Figure 2: Linear notes
If you are not sure of the best location for your notes:
|Linear Notes Layout (PDF opens in new window)|