No matter where you are in your medical career—from a first semester student to an experienced lab employee—note-taking is an essential skill. Comprehensive and organized notes help you keep track of your questions, theories, and findings. While anyone can jot down information for later, a successful note-taking method assists you with learning and retaining information. If you are trying to find your rhythm or improve your skills, check out these best note-taking practices for pharmaceutical research.
Active Listening, Active Learning
Simply transcribing what you hear or copying lecture slides or data will not help you retain information. These are passive forms of note-taking. While you may end the day with a lot written down, you will have a harder time remembering and understanding it in the future. To better learn the material or results you are working with, you have to engage with the information as you record it. Writing in short-hand and putting information in your own words help you actively think about what you are learning as you write it down. Strive to actively organize and understand the information as you go, rather than quickly copying down everything you see or hear.
Use Charts and Images To Your Advantage
Writing words is not the only way to take notes. One of the best note-taking practices for pharmaceutical research is to experiment with sketches, charts, and various figures. Not only is this a way to actively engage with information as you record it, but it also gives you a different way to look at your materials. Figures and graphs are a great way to better explain your research. They also stand out on the page, making it easy to quickly find the section or results you are looking for when you search back through your notes.
Keep up With Physical Notes
While you can certainly benefit from digital note-taking—and you should take advantage of it where you can—handwritten notes are also a huge help. Physically writing out information forces you to use more shorthand, encouraging active listening and note-taking. This method also means you take more time with your notes, which makes you more likely to retain information. Pencil and paper help you quickly sketch out graphs and images. Plus, it is always helpful to have a physical laboratory notebook on hand so that you do not have to load a program or switch through multiple tabs.