The Research Log, and other great ideas for successful research

We tell our students to always keep a little log of their research projects and to jot down things such as important numbers as they come across them — for example, a statute’s bill number, Public Law number, title and chapter sites from the U.S. Code, and etc., etc.  A new book that just arrived at the law library offers “A More Complete List of Lists Every Researcher Should Keep” and it includes some wonderful information ideas for our students to include in their research logs.   The book, The Elements of Library Research, has a bit of an eye-rolling title, but it is deliciously written and includes “Mary’s Maxims” (tips from the author, Mary W. George, such as Mary’s Maxim #14 – “Curiosity Begets Serendipity”).  Anyone who wants to give a new student — be it high school, college, or graduate school — a head start would be wise to give this little gem of a book, perhaps packaged with Elements of Style


A More Complete List of Lists Every Researcher Should Keep

1. Keywords from thinking, brainstorming, background reading, or a thesaurus

2.  Relevant call numbers, to use for both shelf and online browsing purposes.

3.  Subject headings from the fullest display in an online catalog and subject descriptions from every relevant article database

4.  Authors and scholars whose work is repeatedly mentioned by others

5. Titles of peer-reviewed journals and popular periodicals

6. Titles of relevant reference tools related to the research project

7. Publishers that seem to specialize in the field

8. Insitutions, associations, societies, or government agencies that focus on the area of interest

9. Dates, such as the life span of key people, the exact date of a major event, or the publication year of primary sources

10. Order of the steps taken to obtain background information and discover souces, including the navigation path leading to electronic resources and the address of useful Web pages


Now that’s some great advice!

Here’s the book’s catalog record.


Author: George, Mary W., 1948-
Title: The elements of library research : what every student needs to know / Mary W. George.
Imprint: Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2008.
Physical Description: xiv, 201 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
Notes: Includes bibliographical references (p. [191]-194) and index.
Contents: Introduction to research as inquiry — From research assignment to research plan — Strategy and tools for discovery — The fine art of finding sources — Insight, evaluation, argument, and beyond.
          Subject (LC): Library research–United States.
                  ISBN: 9780691131504 (acid-free paper)
                  ISBN: 0691131503 (acid-free paper)
                  ISBN: 9780691138572 (pbk. : acid-free paper)
                  ISBN: 0691138575 (pbk. : acid-free paper)
LAW CALL NUMBER:                             
Z710 .G44 2008                               

1 thought on “The Research Log, and other great ideas for successful research

  1. Pingback: The Research Plan for Maximizing Effective Legal Research « Legal Research Plus

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