Module 2
The Research Log

Academic Honesty
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“A research log is a record of the process by which your research was undertaken, along with documentation of both positive and negative results…”

“On the Research Log”, Catherine Lavender,

Reasons for keeping a search log include:

  • Research is not a strictly linear process. You may need to return to an earlier stage and redo a portion of your search. Having a detailed record will facilitate this process.

  • If you feel initially that a particular source will not be useful then change your mind, you will be able to locate the source more easily.

  • When you seek assistance from reference librarians or professors, they will be better able to help you if you have a record of what you have already done.

  • Carefully recording full citations for all the sources you use will help you avoid inadvertent plagiarism.

The log may be kept in a notebook or diary or on note cards. It should include:

  • A listing of every source (book journal article, web site, or other material) you consulted, the date consulted and brief notes on its potential usefulness.

  • A record of every search of the library catalog with all search terms used and an indication of which terms proved most useful in locating relevant titles.

  • Any printouts you make of titles located through the catalog.

  • A record of each periodical database searched including all search terms used and which ones proved most useful.

  • Any printouts you make of lists of articles located through database searches.

  • A record of every web search indicating which search engine(s) and search terms you used.

  • The URL of every web site consulted and the date it was accessed.

  • A full record of any other sources used (e.g. government documents, archival materials, personal interviews) and the date they were consulted.

  • A complete bibliographic citation for every source you use whether or not you expect to actually cite it in your paper.

Next: Academic Honesty

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