Arranging your data can help de-clutter your folders, refine your work, and help you understand how your data fits in with other datasets. When working in a lab, an organization plan can help you understand what projects are underway, the status of each project, or help you easily locate a figure or document on a shared drive.
Certain tools, like Electronic Lab Notebooks, can also help you keep track of your projects. Note that these are tools in your larger plan to organize your data, and not a solution.
Resources and tools:
Questions to think about:
Mind map activity:
Sketch out what you capture in the process of doing your research. How do your files and folders relate to one another? Do you see a systematic way to organize your work? See our example image below, or follow the link to a blank template for this activity.
This activity can also help you determine your file hierarchy.
File hierarchy activity:
Sketch out your system for organizing your files and folders. We've shared our example file hierarchy blow, or feel free to use our template.
Note: Readme files are included at each level of our file hierarchy. This helps orient someone to your project.
Readme files include information relevant at that level -- for example, the readme.txt in the ProjectFolder will include information abot the project as a whole, and the readme.txt in the RawData folder will have information about how the raw data was collected.