A research journal is an important part of any research project. The journal helps the researcher organize and analyze the progress of his project. While there typically is not a specific way a research journal is organized, its content should include information necessary to show the direction of the research as well as the progress made each day toward the end result. A good research journal is written to record the process of the project and to help keep you on target.
Write the names of all researchers, the topic of your research project and the research question or problem on the inside cover of your journal. The topic, for example, might be drug addiction. The question or problem might be the effects of drug addiction on society.
Make an initial entry that summarizes the research and experiments you plan to undertake. You can write in first person. If you're working with another researcher, make sure that each of you indicates his name on any journal entry for clarification. Write clearly and with as many details as you can. A research journal should be rich in detail, including any experiments you do, dates, times and results.
Finish each daily journal entry with a summary of what was accomplished in the day's research and how you feel about what you accomplished. If you feel you are heading in the wrong direction, write a couple of suggestions that will take you in a better direction. Include a paragraph or two that explains why your current research will not take you in the direction you need to go. If nothing is accomplished on a day's research, be sure to note that information. Copious documentation is key to successful journal entries.
Begin each new journal entry with a brief synopsis of the research or experiments that went on the previous day. Brainstorm with yourself on paper. Write down a few random thoughts about your project and make notes about how to put those ideas into motion. Record the day's events and finish with another summary, adding specific progress you made over the previous day's work. Conclude with a suggestion or two about where you will go with the next session.