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Commonly referred to as a “lab manual” or “project organization protocol,” a research management document is used to outline expectations for your project team and to keep your project on track. In addition to increasing research efficiency, developing and sharing research and data management best practices for your team will help to foster a climate of diversity and inclusion by creating transparent work practices that provide equal footing for all team members to positively contribute to the research project.
Most people don’t have picture perfect memory, so even solo projects can benefit from creating a manual. Think of this document as a living “readme” file for your project. At the start of the project it will explain your intended practices; be sure to keep the document updated if you find that particular aspects of your plan require modification.
Presented on this guide is the Project Manual Documentation Template, a tool created by U-M Librarians for documenting the active phase of a research project. The goal of this template is to identify the basic considerations that any researcher from any discipline should consider for their local documentation in support of team-based research projects.
Documentation is an essential component of good data management and research practices! Team-based and multidisciplinary research can create increased opportunities for misunderstandings; impacting quality, efficiency of research, and research experience. This guide will help you consider the various components of a comprehensive research management document in order to improve shared understandings about:
The Project Manual Documentation Template can be used as an interactive tool to promote:
A “lab manual” or “project organization protocol” will enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of research teams, while creating an inclusive environment by making local practices and expectations clear to all team members regardless of previous research experience and disciplinary background.