Non-native speaker (NNS) students often have to be persuaded of the value of note-taking from texts when they are preparing academic essays. Although research indicates that note-taking can enhance learning from texts, it is not clear how it contributes to the essay writing process, especially for non-native speakers. Is note-taking a valuable process in terms of facilitating learning from texts for NNS students as well as providing a tangible product from which they can write their essays? In a qualitative study, 6 students were followed through an authentic essay writing task. Introspective, retrospective, and concrete data (the students' notes and essays) were obtained and analyzed according to both the information processing approach to cognitive psychology and the dialogic approach. In terms of process, it was found that note-taking behaviors could facilitate learning from text, but that depth of processing and the students' self-positioning in the discourse community were more important than their overt behaviors. As a product, the students' notes were useful as a framework from which to write, particularly if they included wordings from the texts which could enable students to express themselves academically in their essays.