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Investigating Notetaking and Review: A Depth of Processing Alternative

by Kenneth A. Kiewra
Educational Psychologist ()

Abstract

Much of the research on notetaking has distinguished and compared its process and product functions. Conclusions are that the act of notetaking is beneficial independent of review (the process function), and that the review of notes is additionally beneficial (the product function). Although such research informs us that these activities are effective, it fails to explain how learners should take notes and how notes should be reviewed. A depth of processing framework that can lead to more functional implications is proposed for reassessing and for redirecting the investigation of notetaking and review. Essentially, the framework specifies that levels of notetaking and/or review should be manipulated and examined with regard to levels of learning outcomes. Presently, few studies conform to these guidelines, but those that do provide more specific instructional implications. This article concludes with an account of these implications and with guidelines for investigating depth of processing during notetaking and review. Much of the research on notetaking has distinguished and compared its process and product functions. Conclusions are that the act of notetaking is beneficial independent of review (the process function), and that the review of notes is additionally beneficial (the product function). Although such research informs us that these activities are effective, it fails to explain how learners should take notes and how notes should be reviewed. A depth of processing framework that can lead to more functional implications is proposed for reassessing and for redirecting the investigation of notetaking and review. Essentially, the framework specifies that levels of notetaking and/or review should be manipulated and examined with regard to levels of learning outcomes. Presently, few studies conform to these guidelines, but those that do provide more specific instructional implications. This article concludes with an account of these implications and with guidelines for investigating depth of processing during notetaking and review.

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