Module M14 - Documentation

Unit M14U03 - Fundamentals of Note Taking


This Unit provides a comprehensive review of the process of taking notes in the field, including the organisation of field notes, the important note-taking tools and techniques for capturing as much relevant and high quality information as possible. Topics range from the essential supplies that a prepared note taker should carry at all times, to tips for capturing the most important points when there may be many activities or conversations occurring simultaneously. The Unit also includes a discussion of when it is and is not appropriate to take notes, including requirements for making community members aware that notes are being taken.

Unit objectives / expected outcomes

After the completion of the Unit the trainee will be able to:

  • explain why note taking is important;
  • use the right note-taking tools;
  • take notes appropriately and consciously;
  • use the best note-taking techniques.

Content outline, main topics covered and suggested sequencing

This Unit focuses on the topics listed below:

  1. Fundamentals of note taking (PPT No. 1: Documentation: Fundamentals of Note Taking) (1 hr)
  2. Brainstorming for interview guide and checklist preparation (Exercises No. 2, 3 and 4) (2 hrs)
  3. Practise writing in shorthand (Exercise No. 1) (30 min)

Components of the Unit


Handouts for Trainee (to be distributed in printed format):



½ day

Equipment needed

Computer and beamer, notepad and pen or pencil for each participant, coloured pencils or markers, flip charts, small sheets of paper, cards, small pieces of coloured paper/cards and means to stick them to the wall or board (e.g. masking tape, pins, gum), Shorthand Guide (included in M14U03 Handout for Trainee).

Additional downloads