After my first year of the PhD studies I was with my Friend on a Summer School. One day we went to a museum and he had bought as a souvenir little, green notebook with an eye (if I good remember). He told me that he would note there his brilliant ideas 🙂
Few months later we were together on a conference. He had his little, green notebook and he made some notes there, when speakers told something interesting, inspiring, important…
Few months later I come up with an idea of my PhD project (version 3.0). I thought that if I had wanted to treat this project seriously and I had wanted to develop it I should have a notebook where I could write my ideas and notes and comments of people with whom I talked about my research project. Below the first page of that “secret notebook” – “PhD thesis. Concept 3.0”:
Firstly I wrote there very general terms and keywords. I developed them further in the next pages. I noted interesting authors, sometimes I wrote down crucial quotations. I always take it with me when I want to talk with someone about my research project and I take notes. I think that it is extremely important to note when someone comments our ideas, because we can come back to this thoughts afterwards and rethink our concept.
I also believe in handwriting, that is why I prefer the “secret notebook” than the “secret file” on a hard drive. I read once that handwriting activates other parts of a brain than typing on a keyboard. I don’t have idea where I read it but I have found this interesting podcast, if you need to be convinced that handwriting is cool http://freakonomics.com/podcast/who-needs-handwriting/
My other Friend recommends also to write in our mother language. He says that then our notes are more accurate and precise, because your vocabulary is reacher and we better understand differences between similar words. I have some problems with it, because in most cases I use literature in English and sometimes I don’t have idea how this term or phenomenon is called in Polish, or sometimes given term doesn’t have Polish equivalent and every researcher called it differently… Or when I discuss about my thesis concept with English-speaking person I also make notes in English to don’t waste time for immediate translation. But I can agree with his point. We think more freely and clearly in our mother language.
After my experiences I can say that the “secret notebook” is very important in a research project development. You can have in one place all your ideas, thoughts, received comments and recommendations, important authors, inspirations from conferences etc. You can draw schemes, mind maps, diagrams etc. You are limited only by your imagination 😉
Writing the last one joint paper I have starting thinking about a “post doc” research project. I know that I haven’t finished my PhD yet, but in this profession you need to be prepared for a next stage, and research projects ideas don’t come into mind during one night. So I have started to take notes in different places – on some random paper, on my mobile phone… And I have thought that if I really want to develop this idea and prepare a good research project to apply for a research grant I should have a special “secret notebook” for it. And I have asked my sister to make one for me:
Now my ideas have place to flourish 😀
P.S. I am sorry for imperfections – I have published a post from my mobile phone for the first time 😛