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Taking Notes

Information Funnel Method

The Information Funnel Method is an advanced reading technique with one goal—to reduce your readings down to the smallest amount of notes possible.

Watch the video below to learn how to trim your notes down to a single page, or read the notes after the video to learn how to create a two-page approach that includes a keyword list and a summary page.

How to Use the Information Funnel Note-Taking Method

How to Take Notes Using the Information Funnel Method

There are a few different ways you could approach the Information Funnel Method. The video above focuses on what you should do after you create your notes, while this section will talk about what you should do while you're taking your notes.

You can combine approaches from the video and the approach below to create a complete system to guide your note-taking process!

  1. Preview your materials: Skim the textbook chapter or the article while paying special attention to summaries, bolded text, information boxes, and visual materials (e.g. graphs, charts, diagrams, etc.).
  2. Ask questions while you're reading: What is important? Which areas are complicated or challenging for you? If you were the professor, which materials would you add to a test?
  3. Summarize: Read the chapter again, but this time summarize the main concepts in your notes as concisely as you can.
  4. Create a keyword list: Read over your summaries and pull out key words or terms from the notes you've just made. To do this, list only names, concepts, and critical data points.
  5. Review: Read your keyword list and try to recall the information you included in your summaries.

Pros & Cons of the Information Funnel Method


  • Helps students identify the most important information and eliminates unnecessary text.
  • Allows students to rapidly review material while studying and identify areas of confusion.
  • Clear, concise notes should replace your textbook.


  • Requires a great deal of focus to reduce down content from course materials.
  • Students might over condense notes and lose important details in the process.