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GNED 103: Strategies for Academic Success

Start a Research Journal

Why should I keep track of my research?

A research project takes time to complete and may take many sessions of searching in order to find what you need.  Keeping track of your research question, keywords, and search history can help you execute a more comprehensive search, and can help you avoid duplication! Then, when it's time to write your paper, these thorough research notes will save you a lot of time and energy.

What should I include in a research journal?
  • Write out your research question and preliminary keywords (remember to think about synonyms for any keywords)
  • Document the search information:
    • Database used
    • Search terms used
    • When you completed the search
    • What you found (was the search successful?)
    • Location for books/articles – email the search to yourself!
    • Citation information
  • Record any insights or questions you may want to think about later
  • Do not read an entire article when completing your initial search quires. Instead focus on the abstract and subjects then if the article seems like it will fit your topic then email it to yourself and record it in your research journal. Once you have compiled a good amount of source material then come back and read for content.

Step 1: Research Log

There are many ways that you can keep track of your research.  Here is an example of a log that may be usefully during your initial searching.

Research Log Example:
Resource Where Search? Keywords/Search Terms When? Successful? Notes
Article Discover Global Warming May 25th Somewhat Topic is too broad will need to narrow search with keywords
Book CSU Catalog Global Warming May 25th Yes Found a great ebook - emailed to self
Internet Google Global Warming May 25th No Need scholarly sources

Step 2: Research Journal

After you begin reading the source material, move to more of a journal format with one page per source so that you can make notes of quotes, references, and citations. 

Research Journal Example:
Database Used  
Date Accessed  
Keywords/Search Terms  
Location (online/in library)  
How will it be used?  

Charleston Southern University Library