The University of Iowa

Note Taking Interventions for College Students: A Synthesis and Meta-Analysis of the Literature


Although note taking is frequently described as an important skill for postsecondary success, there have been few note-taking intervention studies involving multiple sessions spanning more than one week. In a systematic search, we identified seven peer-reviewed articles reporting 10 intervention studies published from 1990–2014. The only single-case design study addressed taking notes from texts, but four treatment-comparison studies that taught note taking during lectures assessed students' abilities when taking notes from texts. The remaining four treatment-comparison and one single-group design studies focused solely on note taking during lectures. Three types of notes were represented in the corpus: guided (seven studies), split-page (two studies), and self-restructured (one study). In comparing students who did and did not receive note-taking instruction, Hedges's g effect sizes on outcome measures of content learning and note quality ranged from −0.35 to 2.11. Across nine group design studies, the weighted average effect was 0.54 (CI95 = 0.47 to 0.62). The weighted average Tau-U of the single-case design was 1.00 (CI95 = 0.60 to 1.40).


Reed, D.K., *Rimel, H., & *Hallett, A. (2016). Note taking interventions for college students: A synthesis and meta-analysis of the literature. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 9, 307-333. doi: 10.1080/19345747.2015.1105894

IRRC Researcher: