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Hi all,

  I think this may just be my anxiety and excitement about grad school setting in, but I see a lot of people are saying that they use laptops to take notes and associated work in grad school. Personally, I've always handwritten notes, having always felt awkward or more distractible if I use my computer. I have a laptop that I plan on using for PDFs and articles, but otherwise was planning on buying some notebooks for classes and meetings. 

  So, my question is: How usual is it to take handwritten notes?

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Sounds to me like it would be a personal preference. If you feel more comfortable with handwriting (as I do), then by all means do that. Similarly, I learn the information more when I write it down rather than typing on a computer. Don't stress it!

Edited by TheClasyWaggon

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There's no requirement to take notes on a laptop. I varied in grad school between taking notes on a laptop and taking notes on paper. I still have stacks of paper notes from grad school that I always said I'd digitize but never have...

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I took notes on paper through all of grad school. I still mostly take notes on paper for my research work. 

For the graduate classes that I TA'ed, there was a mix of computer and handwritten notes. No one is going to judge you for choosing one method over another. Just do what you feel most comfortable doing!

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Hello, I feel like I am going to use my laptop and writing on paper for my PhD. But does anyone here have any tips on how to keep track of all the notes and the readings that I will do during my PhD? In my master's, it was a little easier to manage because a systematic review of the literature was not required, but it will be required for a PhD so I will have a lot more reading to do at that point. If you have any blog posts or Youtube videos that talks about a specific system of note-taking while reading, I'd appreciate. 

Edited by Adelaide9216

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I started using a lit review table to organize all my articles for certain projects. My advisor recommended it to me. Something like this this. You can change the columns to fit your needs. This was just the best example Google Search offered. 

Also, I will highlight/annotate the article as I read (whether in paper or PDF form) and then enter the information into the table when I'm done with it because I want the table to capture some of the more global concepts. 

Edited by PsyDGrad90
Edited to add information

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21 hours ago, Adelaide9216 said:

Hello, I feel like I am going to use my laptop and writing on paper for my PhD. But does anyone here have any tips on how to keep track of all the notes and the readings that I will do during my PhD? In my master's, it was a little easier to manage because a systematic review of the literature was not required, but it will be required for a PhD so I will have a lot more reading to do at that point. If you have any blog posts or Youtube videos that talks about a specific system of note-taking while reading, I'd appreciate. 

I personally take my notes with OneNote, it's free and you can create notebook, sub sections and sub sub sections. I have a notebook for each year and one for research. Its super practical because there is a research function that will look through all your noteboks's content. Its super easy to look back at notes you wrote a million years ago when you don't remeber when or how you wrote them. 

Plus side of one note : it syncs accross all your devices and saves everything online. You can also record your lectures through the software and then when you read over your notes, you can playback the part of the lecture recorded as you typed that sentence/paragraph... 

 

For OP, a good way to not get distracted when using a laptop online is to either deactivate wifi during the lecture. or use a website blocker for particular websites :)

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On 2/2/2019 at 4:55 PM, CharlieR said:

For OP, a good way to not get distracted when using a laptop online is to either deactivate wifi during the lecture. or use a website blocker for particular websites :)

I use a laptop when taking all of my notes (I like that digital notes can be searched quickly), I think a lot of this ability comes down to self discipline and practice. For hard days/long study sessions I also use a browser extension called Cold Turkey. It's a free download and lets you create customized lists of websites you want to block and will stop you from being able to access them during whatever window of time you set (which could be 5 minutes or all day).

There's a free version and a paid version depending on how flexible you want your blocks to be. I just use the free version which lets you pick what websites to block and for how long. In the paid version I think you can set break time so if you want to allow yourself an hour to watch Netflix during the day you can.

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I also like handwritten notes, but have found an ipad with apple pencil does the same thing. I can read an annotate PDFs as well as take handwritten notes or typed notes. I use notability and have it on both my ipad and computer so it will sync between the two. 

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On 2/1/2019 at 7:16 PM, Adelaide9216 said:

Hello, I feel like I am going to use my laptop and writing on paper for my PhD. But does anyone here have any tips on how to keep track of all the notes and the readings that I will do during my PhD? In my master's, it was a little easier to manage because a systematic review of the literature was not required, but it will be required for a PhD so I will have a lot more reading to do at that point. If you have any blog posts or Youtube videos that talks about a specific system of note-taking while reading, I'd appreciate. 

One of my professors gave me an awesome little precis template to fill out for each title I do for exams. It consists of:

Title, author, publishing info:

Topic:

Main argument:

Subarguments:

-

-

-

Sources and methodologies:

Contributions:

2-3 quotes:

 

She encouraged us to try to keep the precis to just one page (Word document) or two max if the work is particularly long or complex. You can keep them all in a file and print them out to play with (review, group together in different ways, think through) to help you prepare to discuss them in the broad survey--ish kind of way you will need to on your exams.

 

I hope this helps!!

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I honestly keep a working 'lit' review on a number of topics. But it's also because I get most of my ideas while I'm writing/organizing info in text. I know this is different for everyone.

I also organize them in my reference manager undre different tabs/folders and tags

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Oops! I forgot a couple of things in my precis template. Let me try that again:

Publication info

Purpose

Argument

Sub arguments

Key words (with definitions in your own words)

Sources

Methods/Strategies

Contributions/Evaluation

Quotes

;) 

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Considering getting an Ipad for notes and reading: 

I like the idea in investing in something that can easily digitize my notes without losing the importance of handwriting notes.

Which Ipad is the best for this in your opinion? How easy is it to write on an ipad? I kind of drag my hand somewhat while I write and I have no idea if that will be an issue

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15 hours ago, hlr20 said:

Considering getting an Ipad for notes and reading: 

I like the idea in investing in something that can easily digitize my notes without losing the importance of handwriting notes.

Which Ipad is the best for this in your opinion? How easy is it to write on an ipad? I kind of drag my hand somewhat while I write and I have no idea if that will be an issue

My current ipad isn't compatible with the apple pencil, so I'm planning on upgrading to the new air. I like the pro, but I don't know that it's worth the extra $330 (upgrade on ipad and pencil). The hand drag won't be an issue with the ipad. It can detect hand vs pencil. Are you near an apple store and go try them out? I would recommend that before you commit. I have one for work and I love it!

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On 4/10/2019 at 7:28 PM, hlr20 said:

Considering getting an Ipad for notes and reading: 

I like the idea in investing in something that can easily digitize my notes without losing the importance of handwriting notes.

Which Ipad is the best for this in your opinion? How easy is it to write on an ipad? I kind of drag my hand somewhat while I write and I have no idea if that will be an issue

I recently got an iPad and I love it! I chose the basic 9.7-inch model (not the Pro) and also got the Apple Pencil. For reading papers, I've been using the Mendeley app since it's what I already use as a reference manager, and it syncs all the info and PDFs to my account. You can highlight and add notes directly in the app. I've played around with other reading apps a little bit, and the built-in Books app is actually pretty good. I haven't done much note-taking yet, but I do like OneNote app for writing lists and things, since it also syncs across devices with your Microsoft account. The Apple Pencil is great once you get used to it, and hand drag won't be a problem.

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For me, cornell note taking method has been very helpful. I also recommend writing by hand because laptops can be distracting for professors and classmates.

Write down date of taking the note, author names, title of the article, and main points (only the important points).

 

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