Why is it so important to document or describe my research?
Adam Savage (Mythbusters) says it best.
An important part of the research process is documenting the plan, what actually happened, and your thoughts about what happened or didn't, and why.
Always take better notes than you think you need. Many problems that happen during analysis and reporting can be prevented by taking detailed notes. Think of it as writing notes to your future self.
Think about what information would be needed to understand and analyze your data, and/or replicate your results in 20 years. Then think about how researchers in your field usually do that. Do they use lab notebooks, procedures manuals, protocols, readme.txt files, or something else? If you don't know, ask your faculty advisor or supervisor.
The answers to these two questions should tell you what about your research is important to describe and how. For more details about what you might need to document for your project and the data specifically, see the lists below.
Project-level details you should document:
Data-level documentation is much more specific and may include, among others:
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