Make the Most of Your Research Notebook

If you are a student, or you are someone who has just decided to start a research project, it is imperative that you treat your research with the respect it deserves. Whether you are doing actionable research, or are involved in a lengthy bit of qualitative research, there is always a chance that you will need to reference your notes, but there is also a chance that someone else will want to take credit for them. For this reason, you need to make sure that every research notebook you have is set up to be interpreted by you, with every piece of information you have gained.

Create a code for your research notebook so that, should someone steal it, they would at least have to make an effort to interpret the code. Like your digital data password, you should change the code you use every so often so that if someone should break it, they don’t have every piece of the puzzle until they break every code.

Unless you are doing qualitative research, you really need to have an extensive list of sources to start with, and you should probably code these, even if you use a numeric code that involves the Dewey decimal system at your university library. Of course, qualitative research requires fewer sources, because you do not want to taint your own research with the knowledge you gained from sources.

Always store your research notebooks in a safe place about which only you and perhaps one other person know. Take your research seriously, so that everyone else will, too.