14 Day Challenge #11-12: Research Log

14 Day Challenge #11-12: Research Log

[I’m participating in the 14 Day Mini Research Like a Pro Challenge. Thanks to Diana and Nicole at Family Locket for sharing their expertise and guiding us through the experience.]

Last post, I talked about how I don’t like to plan ahead when it comes to vacations and the like and how I don’t like to plan ahead when it comes to research either. And I mentioned that I don’t think I’m going to try to change that because, actually, I think it’s a quirky personality trait that I’d better just own.

I have a research idea and I carry it out.

The result leads to a new reach idea and I carry that out.

The new result leads to — well, you get the idea.

The one-step-at-a-time chain-type of approach works for me right now.

What doesn’t work is not keeping a meticulous log of every research step I take.

As my projects become more complex, I need the support of an on-going summary of research activities in order to work efficiently and effectively.

The good news is even though I don’t like to plan ahead, I do like to plan. And I thrive on being methodical.

I think I can tap into those two things to make a simple change: I just need to commit to never looking for anything until I’ve made note in my research log that I’m going to do it.

And that means I need to have a log and know where to find it.

For the moment, I’ve decided to keep track of research in a Numbers spreadsheet titled “[SURNAME] Research Log” filed in the [SURNAME] folder in my “Ancestor Records” folder on Dropbox. And within that spreadsheet I will create tabs that correspond with the research questions I’m working on.

There. Now that I’ve, um, written down the plan, it seems infinitely more doable.

I Googled “days to build a habit” and the featured search result said “anywhere from 18 days to 254 days.” [1] I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it will be interesting to see how long it takes for me to reach the point where I won’t open a web browser until I’ve made note of my  intended search in a research log.

[1] James Clear, “How Long Does it Actualy Take to Form a New Habit? (Backed by Science), n.d. (https://jamesclear.com/new-habit : accessed 2 February 2019).

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