Principles of Family History Research > Step 2. Decide What You Want to Learn > Prepare a Research Log
Keep your research log up to date. Organize and document as you go. Record the following:
- Your research objective (name the person and event) as soon as you have chosen them.
- The records you want to search. It is probably easiest to enter records as you select them (usually while still looking at the catalog). Record enough information about each source so that someone could readily find it again—the source footnote information.
- The results of your search. As soon as you have searched a record, note whether or not you found anything in the record. You may want to include a document number for copies you made.
- Your e-mail and correspondence. Include the address you wrote to and what you requested. Including e-mail and correspondence on your research log is more efficient than on a separate Correspondence Log.
- Genealogical telephone calls and visits. Include dates, full names, and results. Put interview notes on a separate piece of paper to go in the file.
- Notes about your strategies, analysis, discrepancies, and questions. Logs should be more than just a list of sources. Make your research logs as well the journals of your genealogical thinking and ideas.