Some of you still seem to be struggling with note-taking and organising your own work. This a really important skill you need to have in order to make sure you are not plagiarising (lifting someone else’s work). In this post we will look at how to take notes from a source before using these notes to write your own paragraph. The important thing is to scan through for the specific bits of information you need and adapt the information to suit your purpose.

In the first example, a student was looking into the origins of the gaming company Rockstar North in order to see how this company has affected Scotland and represents us.

The original paragraph was taken from Wikipedia and read:

DMA Design was founded in 1988 by David Jones in Dundee, Scotland, whose first employee was Mike Dailly followed by Russell Kay and Steve Hammond. The name DMA was taken from the Amiga programming manuals (where it stood for Direct Memory Access) and the initials were later ‘retrofitted’ so that they briefly stood for Direct Mind Access (DMA was also jokingly referred to as “Doesn’t Mean Anything” by a company founder). In 1988 DMA signed with UK label Psygnosis and developed Menace and Blood Money – side-scrolling space shooters which gained attention from gamers and critics for both their high-quality presentation and difficulty. As with all the company’s early games, Menace and Blood Money debuted on the Amiga, one of the leading platforms for video games in Europe between the late 1980s and the early 1990s. A Commodore 64 port was published immediately after, later followed by DOS and Atari ST versions.

I’m looking for information here on Rockstar North’s history, how it became successful and any points that relate specifically to Scotland. The notes I would take from this are
• DMA designs set up in 1988
• David Jones
• Dundee, Scotland
• First three employess Mike Dailly, Russell Kay, Steve Hammond
• Direct Memory Access > Direct Mind Access
• Menace and Blood Money – side-scrolling space shooters were seen as enjoyable, high quality and challenging.

We take these notes and we turn it into a new paragraph that covers the same main points as the original but it shares little of the same sentence structure or wording.

The foundations of Rockstar North were laid in the late 1980’s when David Jones set up DMA Designs in his hometown of Dundee. His company grew to inculde Mike Dailly, Russell Kay and Steve Hannond in 1988. The title of the company allegedly came from the anagram Direct Mind Access (a computer programming term). It was later changed to Direct Mind Access and an employee would later koke that it stood for Doesn’t Mean Anything. The first games produced by this small Scottish company were Menace (1988) and Blood Money (1989). These received high critical acclaim within a short space of time due to their difficulty level which gamers felt set an appropriate level of challenge and the high quality presentation.

A second example of note-taking looks at the Scottish sit-com Still Game and how it was established in Scotland’s culture. The original passage reads:

Still Game is a Scottish comedy, produced by The Comedy Unit with the BBC. The show was created by Greg Hemphill and Ford Kiernan, who also play the lead characters Jack Jarvis and Victor McDade two Glaswegian pensioners. Following its debut episode on the 1st of September 2002 forty-four episodes of Still Game were aired including the Christmas and New Year’s Eve specials. The first three series of the show were shown only on BBC One Scotland, however, the five episodes that compiled from the first two series were then later broadcasted throughout Britain on BBC Two in January to February 2004. All of the subsequent episodes received UK-wide broadcasts on BBC Two.

The notes that would be taken are:
• Scottish comedy
• Produced by The Comedy Unit for the BBC
• Created by Greg Hemphill and Ford Kiernan
• Jack jarvis and Victor McDade are the main characters

Notes that are added in from elsewhere include:
• There are six series altogether
• Set in the fictional Craiglang about two old men
• Teddy Jamieson of The Herald said it ‘paints [Scotland] in broad strokes’

This then becomes:
Still Game is a Scottish sit-com produced by The Comedy Unit for the BBC. Still Game was created by Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill who also play the lead characters who are Glaswegian pensioners. The series began on the 1st September 2002 and ran for 44 episodes (this included 6 series and a Christmas and Hogmany specials). Still Game is set in Craiglang however, the Maryhill district is one one of the famous filming locations of Still Game. As episodes went on the figures gradually grew. Teddy Jamieson a television critic for The Herald said the comedy “paints [Scotland] in broad strokes”

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