You may have taken great notes during the lecture, but how do you master the material from the lecture? This is when learning takes place. Studies show that students who review their notes later do better on tests on the materials (Kiewra, 1985). Several of the note taking methods require after lecture work to solidify learning.
Law students tend to rely on outlines, which is a reduction of their lecture notes into a hierarchical scheme, but studies show that a matrix or table format forces the student to synthesize the information and causes opportunities for analysis not evident in an outline model (Kiewra, 2002). From the examples below, you see that an outline is linear while a matrix is two-dimensional and localizes information better than the outline thus creating opportunities for analysis. The reduction to a matrix allows for a "snapshot" view of information.
|Analytical Search Strategies|
|Index||Building Blocks||Fish Net||Search Within||Unique Word or Term||Footnotes or Pearl Growing|
|Search Terms||1||3+||Single term or concept enclosed in “ “||1+||Single term or concept enclosed in “ “||0|
|Boolean?||No||And, Or, Not||No, but may be used||And, Or, Not||No||No|
|Result Set Size||Small||Small||Large||Smaller||Small||Limited|
|Advantage||Fast when term is there||Thorough||Thorough||Narrows result set quickly||Fast||References are on point|
|Disadvantage||Wrong Term||Result Set too small||Result set too large||Terms too far apart||Unique word not indexed||Limited to that article; too many articles to follow the "pearls"|
|How to Overcome the Disadvantage||Brainstorm multiple terms||Remove terms connected by ANDs; truncate terms to get all forms of the word||Narrow to a subset of a larger set.||Use proximity connectors (same sentence, same paragraph, within x words)||Brainstorm multiple terms||Follow notes in articles most on point from the Pearl or use another strategy.|
|Example||Dictionary term||(“war on drugs” OR narcotics OR “illegal drugs”) AND (terrorism OR “war on terror”) AND “immigration law”||"immigration law"||(terrorism OR “war on terror”) [within “immigration law” set]||"narco-terrorism"||<none>|
Analytical Search Strategies Outline