research log

Prepared by Elisabeth Lindsay.

A research log is an organizing tool and a method for tracking and documenting the research process, including the date, source researched, findings and comments, and note references. Research log forms are available on the Internet or can be purchased at most genealogical supply stores. You can also create your own log on in a notebook of your choosing: loose sheets or spiral bound. Research logs provide easy access to information, and provide an ongoing record of sources searched, saving time and helping to avoid a duplication of effort.

One of the biggest issues for researchers is having to go back and relocate a source because they can't remember what information was found or in what resource. A good research log cites the source, recording exactly where a piece of information was found so that he or she (or another researcher) could easily go back to that source in the future. It's also important to keep good notes on what was found. This information can then be easily transferred to your personal genealogy software, although you never want to discard your research logs, but keep them together for future reference. While it may seem tedious, the consistent practice of keeping a research log can save the researcher untold hours of time and frustration.

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