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The Teaching Space Podcast

The podcast is on pause for a year (as of August 2021) as I am tackling the final year of my masters in education (which I am doing alongside my full-time job). In the meantime, please revisit the considerable back catalogue of episodes. Also, give me a follow on Twitter, where I am still very active and sign up for my personal newsletter here. You can visit The Teaching Space website here:

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Mar 28, 2020

Episode 88 of The Teaching Space Podcast explains my method for reading and taking notes on a journal article.


At the time of recording, I am about half way through my first year of a Master’s in Education (listen to episode 80 if you would like to hear more about this). Something I really struggled with at the start, but is now starting to get a little easier, is reading and making notes on journal articles. In this episode, I will share my approach. This might well be something I make a video about in the future if anyone would be interested.

This episode is a follow up to episode 83 where I share some of my favourite note taking apps.

Definitely check out the show notes for this episode.

Tools I Use

Document Storage

All PDF documents are added to my GoodNotes app for reading on my iPad. We also have a digital textbook for the course; I download extracts from that as PDFs and add to GoodNotes and are organised in folders.

Skim and Scan

Once documents are on my iPad I will usually skim and scan them to check they are worth reading in depth. BBC Skillswise has worksheets explaining skimming and scanning. When I know I want to read something in detail, I grab my Apple Pencil.

Highlighting and Making Notes on the Document

Typically, I will be asked to read a document with a few questions in mind. If I am not, I will make up my own questions or areas of focus based on my skim and scan.

In GoodNotes, I can copy and paste or type my questions or areas of focus in a text box on the first page of the document (see image below). I have GoodNotes set so when I do this, the text is on a pale pink background; it looks a bit like a sticky note. Having the text on a specific coloured background makes it eye-catching.

Insert ‘pink box image’ here

I then colour code the questions with different highlighter pen colours by putting a coloured blob next to each (see above). I love pastel coloured highlighters; one thing that is great about GoodNotes is you can set the highlighter colours yourself (see the doodle below for my favourite colours).

See show notes on

Here’s a quick video explaining how to customise highlighter pen colours in GoodNotes.

See show notes on

I then highlight key sections of text and sometimes make notes in the margin if needed (see below):

See show notes on

Making Notes

If more detailed notes are required I will move to my desktop and split my screen between the GoodNotes desktop app and OneNote. You will see from the screenshot below that my reflective learning journal on OneNote is the home of notes like this.

See show notes on

Wrap Up

And that’s it. If you have any questions about this episode or comments you’d like to share please join The Teaching Space Community:

The show notes for this episode include any links I’ve mentioned; you can find them at

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Thanks for listening and I hope you’ll join me for the next episode.