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Tips on Getting Organized

Page history last edited by ted.coopman@... 9 years, 11 months ago


Organization is key to systematic (social science research)

Creating style sheets for labeling folders and documents will save you a lot of time and pain. Here are some basic suggestions to organizing your computer.


Organizing your Folders

Folder organization is a good technique to keep track of your data and writings. This may done through arranging folders in a hierarchy from general to specific.


Here is an example of arranging folders:


Classes → F08 → Comm 181 → Wiki Project → Sources → Bob_notes



Classes → F08 → Comm 181 →  Weekly Discussion → Week 5



Renaming Documents

Downloaded documents or pdfs often come with long numerical names (01267789.pdf) or names that may not make much sense to you (tatum_FM_06.doc). Rename them so YOU can find them.

• Use author’s last name

• Use subject or class name

• Use abbreviated titles


Naming your own Documents

Always consider both content (what) and context (where/what for) in naming you documents.

(“paper.doc” – not very informative!)

For example:

AB_wiki_v1_ comm181.doc

annotated bibliography [content], wiki [context], version 1 [content – specific], comm181 [context general].

A Note on Versions: Rather than simply updating the same document through multiple versions, it is always a god idea to work through revisions using different sequential versions. This way, you can go back to an earlier version if you get off track. Therefore, it is a good idea to assign versions numbers so you do not spend time working on the wrong version or turning in the wrong draft.


Dealing with Data

Most research involves massive amounts of data that can range from observation field notes to artifacts. Keeping this data organized in critical for conducting good thorough research. 


Depending on the type of data, you will wish to organize it in a particular way that makes sense to you. However, you will always need to note the date, time, and location you collected the data. 


Add contextualizing filed notes: these are notes that remind you why you collected the data and what elements seem important and why.


Pick a style/method and stick to it!


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