Curated Resource ( ? )

How I Take Notes When Doing Research

How I Take Notes When Doing Research

my notes ( ? )

Summarising Clive Thompson's How I Take Notes When I’m Doing Research: "It’s the reframing of material into summaries or marginalia that adds value and meaning for the researcher", which is precisely why I'm paraphrasing and describing what I curate, and how it relates to my own experience and plans, rather than just simply copying/pasting key phrases (although I still do that, as you can see from the beginning of this paragraph).

Clive starts a new project in Scrivener for each writing project, whereas Stowe has "thousands of notes in Obsidian already at the point when I start a writing project". He shows how he annotated Clive's post "with tags, highlights, and annotations", with an emphasis on footnotes: "I can search in a single file for all footnotes ... search across many documents for footnotes including certain terms or tags..." simply view the documents and its footnotes at the end. What he's like, however, are "sidenotes ... where the text of footnotes appear in the right margin", which reminds me of Medium's original commenting feature, which I loved, as well as Google's sidewiki, both long closed.

They both agree (as do I): "writing those little paraphrases is just enough mental work that it helps internalize this research". What's relatively new to me, since reading Sonde Ahren's How to Make Smart Notes, is the value of "summarize the most useful findings in my own voice... the act of explaining to myself what the heck it is I’ve just read helps me really internalize the info".

Of course, it takes time, so I sometimes struggle to remember that "To turn notes into knowledge, you need to do some active work." - it's just so much easier to select a paragraph, hit "Hub it" to open the curation bookmarklet, maybe copy and paste another para or two, edit it tighter, add tags and his Publish. You still get that kick of dopamine from having "done" something, but the impact on your learning is so much lower.

One thing I have to investigate in Obsidian: turning highlights from a document into a Kanban. In Stowe's method, each cards includes the text he highlighted and the footnote he added to it - essentially a "best of" the article he's annotating. When using many documents as source materials in a writing project, he pulls the list of cards for each document into the Kanban, allowing him to create an outline of his piece by moving the cards around, similar to a screenwriter using scene cards to plot out a film, something I was discussing with FotL just the other day.

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See also: Digital Transformation

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