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The Impact of Novice Counselors' Note-Taking Behavior on Recall and Judgment

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Purpose: To examine the effect of note-taking on novice counselors' recall and judgment of interview information in four situations: no notes, taking notes, taking notes and reviewing these notes, and reviewing notes taken by others.

Method: The sample included 13 counselors-in-training recruited from a master's level training program in rehabilitation counseling. A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted to detect significant differences in recall and clinical judgment. Spearman's rho correlation was used to determine if there were significant relationships in general judgment across note-taking conditions. The participants' notes were examined to describe the note-taking strategies used by the participants.

Results: MANOVA analysis showed a significant within-subjects effect in relation to the four note-taking behaviors (F[6, 70]= 2.475, p = .031). Univariate analyses for effects of note-taking indicated that there were significant differences for recall (F[3, 36]= 3.214, p = .034) but not clinical judgment (F[3, 36)= 1.936, p = .141). Specifically, the results showed that when counselors reviewed the provided notes, they recalled more facts than when they took notes themselves. The Spearman's rho correlation results indicated that the counselors' perceptions of the client changed, but did not become more accurate, as a function of note-taking activity.

Conclusion: Note-taking was not a successful strategy to improve recall or judgment among these novice counselors. Counselor educators and supervisors should not assume that the benefits that come from note-taking in academic settings generalize to the clinical setting.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2014

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