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How To: Assignment Planning

Active reading

Not everything that you retrieve from your searches will be wholly relevant to your assignment.  For example, a book may only have one chapter or section relevant to your topic or a journal article may address a certain concept but not your entire topic.  These sources can still be useful to you.

When reading the text you should take notes from it that relate to your assignment. This is called Active Reading

Make sense of your notes

Two ways to make sense of your notes:

Mind maps

Using the mind map that you made earlier, add notes that you took during your reading to each of the key themes identified (with the reference details alongside).

Another option is to create a separate mind map for each article and then see how each of them relates to your assignment.

How to create a mind map

You can create a mind map by:
Pen and paper
Create mind maps using lots of colours and pictures as well as words.
Mind map software
Software and applications such as XMind, FreeMind and iMindMap are great for helping you organise your notes and thoughts.

Table of Notes

If you don’t like using Mind Maps try using a table to arrange you notes.  You can use the themes that you identified in your earlier mind map to create the table’s columns.

If you find a sentence or paragraph that you would like to use in your assignment exactly as it is, then copy it down verbatim (word for word) and make a note that it is an exact quote – use must reference it as a quote in your assignment. 

Sample Table
Topic: Health & Well-being
Source Theme 1: Diet Theme 2: Exercise Theme 3: Stress Theme 4: Sleep
Murphy, H. and Smith, T. (2008) Key concepts in health and well-being . London: Sage Publications fruit and veg 5 a day (p.12)

balanced diet

variety in diet (p.15)
connected with overall health (p.45) work/life balance (p.51)

identify what is important (pp.51-52)
stress and sleep: vicious cycle (p.78)

insomnia: tackle with relaxation and sleep techniques (p.80)
Stevenson, A. and O'Neill (2012) Physical activity and diet: the key to outer and inner health. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health , 35(2), pp. 146-155. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2008.00192.x avoid too much alcohol consumption (p. 148)

wheat & dairy intolerances (testing available) (p. 151)

Quote: "the costs of work days lost because of the chronic health problems that are associated with both inactivity and overweight" (p. 153)
mix of cardio and resistance training (p. 150)

warm-up v. important (p.150)

3 times a week (p. 151)

build into your day (p.151)
physical and mental illness, anxiety (pp. 154-155)

meditation, activities that relax, e.g. reading, walking, etc. (pp.154-155)
33% of life

8 hours per day

regular sleeping pattern in best (pp.152-153)