If you’re like me and do research at libraries or online, you know how easy it is to get off track. I looked at various ways to focus my research activity. I took an online course on time management and they used agendas. So I looked at templates for agendas. I found one that lets me create the agenda for my research ‘meeting’. You name the research trip as the meeting. Then you set it up to let you enter ‘meeting’ notes for each item on your agenda. This does two things for you. It gives you direction for your research and an organized place to put your notes. I also note down the source at the same time. I wondered if it would work, so I put it to the test.
I created an agenda for a small research trip to my local library. I did the agenda in Word and copied it to a flash drive. I also put the information that I already had on the subject of my research on the same flash drive. I put them in a folder that I named with the date that I did the research. That organized the trip. I could save any images that I found on the subject to that same folder — organized and efficient. This particular test was on my family history research, but you can use the same technique to do online research at home as well. I was using a library database that I had to go to the library itself to work with. I simply used the flash drive in a library computer and did the research there. That keep the work organized and logged the research in one neat move. The folder holds the date and the computer logs the time automatically, if you care about the time.
The notes are logged in the agenda with the item they pertain to. Downloaded records or documents are named and saved to the research folder. Everything is kept together and that is where this technique shines. Logging your research is a great idea. I learned that from genealogy research. A research log helps you keep your research organized. The agenda technique makes it easy to maintain a research log with relatively painless ease.
Naming the folder with the date in the form of month-day-year, which helps keep your work organized by date. You can keep it on the flash drive or move the folders to a special location on your hard drive and maintain it. You can also use a spreadsheet program to keep track of where your research files are. You can keep that one on the flash drive to maintain continuity if you move the files elsewhere. Knowing where you have searched is valuable in mapping out where you should look next. The agenda technique is good for helping you to figure out where you are going with your research. Treat it like a map and it will take you where you want to go.