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Yale Library

Archival Research for Senior Exhibit Fellowship: Documenting the research process

This libguide will introduce basic concepts on archival theory, practice, and research methods.

About this page

Documenting the research process is vitally important - it facilitates your research by keeping you organized, helps you keep track of materials you're done consulting and materials you wish to revisit, and can help you draw connections between documents and collections. How you document your research process is unique and up to you. This page provides some tips and tricks to help you develop a system to document your research.

Where to start: Before you begin your research, think about how you might refer back to your notes to help you with your synthesis and interpretation of material. Come up with a system that you can stick to and implement for the rest of your research. Things to consider:

  • Where are you storing your notes? In a notebook, laptop, binder? Will you be transcribing these notes in any way?
  • Are you taking photographs, and if so, where will they be stored? How will you name files so that you can easily identify photographed material?
  • How will you keep track of boxes you wish to consult, boxes you're done consulting, and boxes you want to revisit?
  • When completing your exhibition or paper, how will you refer back to these notes? What storage method would be most useful to the way you work?

Step 1: Find and request material

Step 2: Visit the reading room

Looking through a box

Looking through a folder

Step 3: Take notes and photographs

Taking notes