Annotating Texts

The Purpose of Annotating Texts

  • Annotation refers to taking notes directly on a text (or a photo of a text) for the purpose of adding observations or questions.
  • The act of annotating helps you engage with and understand the text better.
  • It’s useful for identifying significant parts of the text, recognising patterns, generating questions, and preparing for discussions or writing tasks.

Types of Annotation

  • Underlining or highlighting: You can underline or highlight important words, phrases, or entire sentences to help them stand out during subsequent readings.
  • Summarising and paraphrasing: Writing brief notes that summarise key points or paraphrase difficult sentences helps check your understanding.
  • Questioning: Asking questions about the text in your annotations encourages deeper thinking about the content.
  • Commenting: Note your reactions, thoughts, or connections you make to the content. This includes reflections, associations, and personal responses.
  • Symbol coding: Using symbols (e.g., *, ?, !) allows you to easily locate and group similar annotations.

Methods and Tips for Effective Annotation

  • Make your annotations brief but meaningful. Over-annotating can make it hard to identify important elements later.
  • Develop a personal notation system to annotate texts that suits your learning style. This may evolve as you move through the text.
  • Use the margins to add your annotations. This keeps the main text easy to read.
  • Use abbreviations or symbols to keep your notes concise.
  • If you struggle with a section, re-read it before you continue with your annotations.
  • Reviewing your annotations can help consolidate your understanding, and is useful for revision.
  • Always remember, your annotations should clarify and not confuse. Their goal is to assist you, so they should be understandable to you.