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Reading Well and Taking Research Notes

How to read critically and well and take good research notes. Includes information about tools that can help you do this effectively on your computer or mobile device.

Organizing your files

File organization doesn't have to be tricky just because you're on a mobile device. Here are some options for keeping things simple.

iPad and iPhone apps

Android Apps


Most eReaders allow you to load in your own documents. Here are links to the instructions for the most popular devices.

File Types

You can take notes and make comments on Word documents by using the "review" feature.

For most of the options on this page, PDF files are far preferable to other types of files. You can save Word documents as PDFs, use the "print" menu to print web pages or other files to PDF, or use Adobe Acrobat Pro (available on all lab computers) to convert files to PDF.

Many of the annotation features work best if the PDF has been run through an OCR process (Optical Character Recognition helps the PDF reader know that the words on a screen are words rather than images, which enables things like copying, pasting, and highlighting). You can do this using Adobe Acrobat Pro, which is available on all lab machines.