LabArchives can be used to securely store search or share data of any file type or from any discipline. A Social Scientist could use LabArchives to document anything from anthropology, economics, psychology, sociology, and politics.
In all disciplines, good record keeping is very important. Even if you do not work in a wet lab, your LabArchives notebook can contain enough information that a colleague can read, understand, and replicate the work without speaking to you.
Note: If you work with identifiable or sensitive information always speak with your institution about the best place to store this data.
A Social Scientist might use LabArchives to store data relevant to their research or LabArchives can serve as a central place for Laboratory or Research Group Management Documentation.
A Social or Humanities researcher might use LabArchives to organize or document:
- Study Setup
- Data Collection for Survey based research
- Data Collection for Observational Research
- Data Collection for Text, image, or video analysis (Historical document research, literary criticism, video, or image analysis etc.)
- Literature Reviews and Reference Management
- Data Analysis
- Publications, manuscripts, abstracts, posters, and presentations
- Meeting Agendas
- Journal Clubs
- Training for new employees
- Lists of Equipment used: settings, model, manufacturer, and calibration information
- Safety Information and waste disposal forms
Many researchers will develop standardized templates that are used frequently. These templates can be a page with a variety of rich text entries, headings, attachments, or other files that can be copied frequently. A well-thought-out template can ensure that a page of the notebook contains all necessary information, makes it easier to review a colleague’s work, and it makes your group more efficient. You may organize these templates in a designated “templates” folder so your team will use the copying tools to use the template. To learn more about copying a page, click here
1. Study Setup
Your LabArchives can contain information in designing your experiment, study, or analysis. This may mean documenting your hypothesis, funding requirements, experimental design, or consent forms.
In the process of completing your research, it can be useful to have a central place to document ideas, thoughts, feedback, or future areas of improvement. Many social sciences researchers will use LabArchives as a logbook or diary of thoughts while completing their work. This way, in the future, you can always reference previous entries and remember your notes or thoughts.
2. Data Collection for Survey based research
Many humanities and social science researchers will perform surveys, questionnaires, or interviews with participants. You can use LabArchives as a place to prepare to develop the surveys with colleagues or even to document the results of these surveys.
Keep in mind, your funding agency or institution may have requirements about where this data is stored.
2A. Participant Recruitment
If you are planning to interview participants or set up a survey, the first thing you will need to do is advertise the survey to find individuals willing to participate. You might advertise your study or program in email, with flyers, online by mail or even through a participant recruitment database. LabArchives can be used to write draft announcements, share a certain flyer or ad with colleagues and keep a record of participants that you may have contacted.
In LabArchives, you can write a draft flyer as a rich text entry or you can add attachments like an office document. To communicate with a colleague about a certain draft you may use comments to notify them when they can review a draft and you can have a conversation about future changes.
You might have an initial phone call or meeting with participants to screen them for your survey or interview. Normally, you will have a set of target questions to help filter respondents. Before asking the respondents, you will want to decide which questions would be important to ask and why these answers are important for your research. In LabArchives, you can document the questions that you would like to ask, the logic behind making those choices and reminders about other things to ask in the future. If you will complete a similar survey in the future, it can be useful to include suggested improvements or thoughts about the success of the screening.
2B. Survey Design
Your Survey or interview might be completed by video, phone call, online or even in person. It’s important to document information such as the questions that you will ask, technologies or equipment that you might need for the survey. For your research, it is important to consider the types of questions that you would like to ask like binary (yes/no), Multiple choice questions, or even essay style questions. It is often recommended to ask others for feedback on the questions you have written to make sure that they are clear and concise. You will also want to test the survey a couple of times to make sure that it is working as you expect.
In LabArchives, you might add your survey questions to a rich text entry, word document, or even link to the survey that you have created in a survey system that you use (Qualtrics, RedCap, SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, etc.). To learn more about linking to data in LabArchives Click Here.
While preparing your survey or interview, you will want to consider other variables like the software or hardware that will be used or
In some cases, you might create a template page in LabArchives with each question and you can simply fill in the blanks while you complete the survey or interview.
2C. Videos, photos, screen recordings of Survey
You will want to document participants that are interviewed or taking part in your survey. Consider creating a form or template do document important information like location, room temperature, configuration information, or other relevant information. Many groups will add a list of questions with space to type in notes or answers. This way, you can quickly copy the template for each participant and simply fill in the blanks during the interview or survey period.
Consider adding tips or reminders for yourself or colleagues for the survey. As an example, if the equipment used needs to be set up, calibrated, or configured in a certain way, include the steps for this as part of your template.
During this stage, it is also important to add other factors that may impact your survey. As an example, if you are studying eye tracking, mouse clicks, facial movements, or body language, how will you document this information?
3. Data Collection for Observational Research
Observational research has many different types and techniques. You may observe participants in a controlled environment, you may observe individuals in public, or the researcher may become an active participant. For some observational studies, you might have a case study or analyze other publications or archival work.
If you are working with a large team, a widget or template can be useful to standardize documentation techniques for observational research. As an example, a psychologist might observe zoo animals and use a widget in LabArchives like the one below to document their work. This animal behavior ethogram would allow the observer to quickly record certain behaviors while in the field and then the results can be analyzed later. To learn more about building or creating your own widgets, click here.
4. Data Collection for Text, image, or video analysis
Many researchers will analyze historical text, images, artwork, or videos to learn more about our world. As you collect these photos, videos, or images, you can upload these to LabArchives for safe keeping or you can link to or reference this information. To learn more about attachments, click here and to learn more about linking click here.
In some cases, your research may involve an analysis or critique of this information. In LabArchives, you can attach or link to the original source material, and then add notes, a summary, or thoughts about this material as another entry on the same page. As an example, you might include the wordcount or an analysis on word choice in a rich text entry associated with the script for a video advertisement.
Some groups will use computational analysis of a certain video or image. This can be an excellent way to analyze these resources for numerical or non-numerical data. As part of this process, you might include the code, scripts, software, or datasets used in your LabArchives notebook. To learn more about using LabArchives for your code click here.
Some researchers will set up standard tables or rich text entries for calculations or measured values. Rich text entries are also a great place to include information about the formulas that are used. To learn more about rich text entries, click here. You can edit Office documents in LabArchives using Microsoft Office Online. This can be a convenient way to perform calculations and it makes it easy to export the information. You can setup a standard Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document that has the necessary fields and calculations. When someone needs to use the document, they can upload the file to a page or copy the template. To learn more about working with Office Documents, Click Here.
The folder and page structure of your notebook can be used to communicate information about your work. As an example, if you are analyzing artwork, each page can have a photo of a painting, notes that you’ve made about this painting and the pages can be organized in a folder structure of the date it was produced or by topic.
In the example below, a group of archeologists organize field reports by the date and location. This makes it easy to find related information.
5. Literature Reviews and Reference Management
If you are writing a literature review or collecting resources for a certain publication, you can upload the PDF or word documents used in this process to LabArchives. You can also create a short list of links to other articles or websites. You can also use the PubMed References entry type to insert search PubMed from directly inside LabArchives. To learn more about the PubMed References entry type, click here.
Some groups will manage references using tools like RefWorks, Zotero, EndNote, or Mendeley. In LabArchives, you can link to these citation management platforms. To learn more about linking to data, click here.
In some cases, you might write documents using Microsoft office and create citations using a reference manager. You can use the LabArchives Microsoft Office plugin to upload these documents to LabArchives. To learn more about the Microsoft Office plugin, click here.
6. Data Analysis
In LabArchives, you can upload attachments of any file type. For some research, the data analysis may be performed in Excel or GraphPad Prism. To learn more about working with Excel Documents in LabArchives, Click Here and to learn more about the GraphPad Prism Integration, Click Here.
In some cases, you may work with code using tools like R, Python, MatLab, SPSS, or others. If the datasets are small, you can upload exports or reports about your code to LabArchives or you may store this information in a tool like GitHub. For researchers working with Code, LabArchives can serve as the “story of the data” where you would add information like notes, observations, or ideas generated while working with your data. To learn more about working with code in LabArchives, click here. If you work with Large datasets you may need to link to or reference that data in LabArchives. To learn more about working with large data, click Here.
7. Publications, manuscripts, abstracts, posters, and presentations
If you are writing a paper or presenting about your research, it’s important to keep track of the documents that were created for these presentations. As an example, you might use LabArchives as a place to collaborate on a presentation for your conference and then save the video or final versions of your presentation in LabArchives. In the future, these records can be useful for writing a CV or resume showing the different conferences, abstracts, and posters that you or your team have presented.
When sending a document for publication, many groups will keep track of these manuscripts in LabArchives. This can serve as a central place to store the supplemental information, feedback from peer reviews, details about when and where the data was sent and even the formatting for the publications. In the future, if you are publishing information in a similar article it can be helpful to document this Information for review.
These publication and presentation documents could be stored in LabArchives as attachments and any office documents can be edited directly in LabArchives or using the plugin. To learn more about working with attachments, click here. If you manage these research documents in Typeset, you can use the Typeset integration to directly import images. To learn more about typeset, click here.
8. Meeting Agendas
Many research teams will have regular meetings or town hall style events to discuss ongoing research, ask questions, and collaborate with colleagues. You can use LabArchives as a central place to document these meetings and include things like the agenda, video recording, or PowerPoint presentation that was used. This way, everyone can review past meeting agenda’s and if someone misses a meeting, they can review the notes.
9. Journal Clubs
A Journal Club is an opportunity to review new or upcoming literature about a certain topic. This can be a great professional development opportunity or a way to stay up to date on new and exciting topics in your research area. You can upload the articles that you will review to a designated page or folder in LabArchives, your colleagues can read through the information ahead of time and you can include notes about the discussion.
10. Training for new employees
You may have new employees, volunteers, or colleagues that join your research team. It can be helpful to provide thee individuals with a kit of resources for them to get started. Your LabArchives notebook could serve as a training manual on internal procedures, software training, links to other tools or services, or even your data management plan. Some groups will even add activities or training exercises as pages in the notebook.
The notebook can be a central hub with advice for new colleagues and this can make it much easier to onboard new team members. This can simply be a folder in a notebook that everyone shares, or this can be a specific notebook that you clone for each new team member. To learn more about cloning a notebook, click here.
11. Lists of Equipment used: settings, model, manufacturer, and calibration information
If you need specific equipment or hardware to perform your work, it is important to document this information in your lab notebook. If the equipment has been cleaned, calibrated, or repaired, this can impact the results. You can log these activities in a formal equipment maintenance log or calendar shared with your team. If you recognize a pattern of unusual results, a maintenance log makes it easy to identify faulty parts or calibration issues.
If you work with a lot of glassware, it can be useful to take photos of your setup and include descriptions to help you reproduce the same experiment in the future.
12. Safety and health information and Waste disposal forms
There are many important documents (COSHH Forms, SDS Sheets, calibration reports, or EPA Forms) that must be maintained by a lab. Many labs will store these forms in LabArchives because it is easy to share the information with everyone in your team and you can access the data quickly. You can also add links to these forms if they are stored in another location. To learn more about links, click here.