The RRS is the Researcher's Reflection Space. It is a fancy word for 'notebook' or 'journal'. Good essays are built on good notes. When researching your essay, you will want to both 'take' and 'make' notes. What is the difference between 'taking' notes and 'making' notes? And how can you move from note taking to note making? Here is a brief overview:

The purpose of note taking The purpose of note making
  • recording
  • reiterating
  • capturing
  • processing
  • synthesising
  • interpreting
Examples of note taking Examples of note making
  • underlinging/highlighting
  • taking photos
  • jotting down data
  • recording bibliographical info.
  • paraphrasing other people's ideas
  • mind mapping
  • creating a collage
  • plotting data on graph
  • annotating/commenting critically on sources
  • generate new quesitons/ideas

In order to take and make great notes, one must develop useful research habits and routines. This is where the Researcher's Reflection Space (RRS) comes in handy. This is a place where you can paraphrase what you've read, make mind maps, plot data or even doodle. The point is to make your notes meaningful. Here are two note-making tools to consider.

The Bullet journal

Many people around the world use a method of journalling that Ryder Carroll has coined, 'The Bullet Journal'. While there are many ways to write notes with paper and pen, variations on his methods do three things in a meaningful way, all of which are relevant for the Extended Essay: 1) track the past, 2) order the present and 3) plan the future. You may take inspiration from his methods or other bullet journalists for setting up your RRS.

Bookmarking and note-making apps

Most likely, you will use the World Wide Web for finding primary and/or secondary sources. So what do you do once you have found a valuable source? Browsers come with bookmarking functionality which you can use for your EE by creating folders. Some note-making apps, such as Evernote, integrate with your web browser and take bookmarking to a new level. Besides bookmarking, Evernote allows you to 'tag', annotate, synthesise and search your sources. Here's a quick introduction to Evernote:


One of the Approaches to Learning is self-management skills. You experience streams of information every day, when talking to friends, watching TV or listening to a teacher. How do you manage these streams? Do you carry around a notebook? What happens when you hear or see something that you find valuable? What do you 'do' with it? When thinking about research habits, it helps to think about physical space and the tools you have at your disposal. Think of your Researcher's Reflection Space (RRS) (or notebook) as something more integral in your life than an EE requirement. Think of a notebook or journal as a 'learning accelerator'.

Last modified: Saturday, 6 June 2020, 6:48 AM