05 - discussion report

This is a skill that is important to master because you may have to take notes at evening classes or during a debate, a political speech, a presentation, a team discussing economic themes, a board meeting, a charity explaining their work, an author presenting his new book. You can practise this exercise with 1 hour documentaries 

Before the event - be prepared. 

material Take a spiral notebook and use a pencil to take your notes. We recommend a soft  graphite pencil (b or 2b)   to avoid leaking ink. Don't forget a pencil sharpener. Take a binder (A4 or A5) with empty pockets  or a file with you.  At the event, they will give you hand-outs or you need to pick up a leaflet with the information related to the lecturers and the title of the event. Also you will need the hard surface of the file or the binder to write.
If you know in advance what subject is going to be discussed, look up articles about it and articles about the lecturer. In case they use specialised terms, you will be able to write these words down more easily.

briefing  groundwork before and after the debate. Find out  background information on the panelists  and this was provided by the LSE programme leaflet. This is also known as briefing. In addition, The more you are familiar with the topics discussed, the easier the note-taking. After taking notes, you need to look up names and specialist vocabulary mentioned by the protagonists, it is also possible that they use a foreign language word, and if they quote someone, you need to find the exact quote.
At the event - taking notes


The reason why we ask you to practise taking notes from documentaries on TV is to train you to pay attention to all the information and at the same time writing it down, and also develop your own system of abbreviations. You will soon realise that you don't need to write everything down, but it is important for you to write down anything related to names, location, species, technical terms, numbers because this is vital  information. Write down on one side of the page only (the other side is for later comments, clarifications and notes) Keep alert all the time. You don't have to write the exact sentence and you don't have to make complete sentences in your notes.  When the event is finished. Write down the date and number on each page. tear your pages from your notebook and put them in your file. It is your duty to be as accurate as possible - it is better to leave out something you are unsure of, rather than including a possible error.

After the event - transcription. 

Title sectionThe exercise of transcription is relatively straightforward. write: a report then write down the place and the date of the event, Title of the event. Name of the lecturer, your name. - the presentation is up to you.
Introduction: Give a few lines about the event itself, why you chose to be there.
Body of the text Realistically speaking, the body of the text should fit on one A4 page. If this is a debate with several people speaking you need to start a new paragraph with the name of the person (italics, caps or bold) and followed by your interpretation of what they said. You have to write in indirect speech because your notes are not the exact words of what that person said. Look up the spelling of words in a dictionary, check out the name of the person. If you have any doubts  in your notes, leave it out. You don't need everything that was said during the discussion. Make sure that your sentences are grammatically correct.

Conclusion: This is the section where you can give your opinion to the reader. Do you agree with the lecturer? Which points did particularly strike you?

Attachment: write: "further information" If the debate is a book promotion, this is where to add the title. Usually you add the website of the lecturer so what your reader can investigate further. Many websites will offer podcasts or youtube films  after the event, you can also point at those. 

signature  with your web-address, blog or website. You can illustrate your report if you want.

(my  Discussion Report about a debate at the London LSE about the Iron Curtain is here:  Iron-Curtain )