Documenting your project is extradorinarily important for a variety of reasons. What follows are the kinds of records that are often advisable, with comments on why and how they're useful and how they should be kept.

Record/Document Type


Method & Form

Meeting Agenda
An agreement on what will be discussed at a meeting and (often) how much time it will take.

For informal meetings the agenda can be agreed on by discussion at the beginning of the meeting and written on a blackboard.

For more formal meetings an advance agenda is very helpful.

See the page on conducting meetings for more info.

Meeting Minutes

Record what happened at a meeting, particularly:

  • Decisions
  • What things require action
  • Who is responsible
  • When things are due

It's useful to establish a "template" meeting minute document (MS Word is great for this) which has all the standard information. All you need to fill in then are the specifics of the meeting. They include:

  • The date
  • Who was present - and absent
  • Decisions made
  • Actions required - by whom and by what date

Circulate the minutes within 24 hours of the meeting.

Citation Notes
If you're doing library research you'll almost certainly need to cite your sources. Writing them down at the time will save you considerable effort. For many circumstances simple notes on paper or a Word file will suffice. For more extensive work a program like Endnote is extremely beneficial.
Report "Mock Up"
Since almost all projects will need to have one or more reports written about them it is extremely helpful to have a working, physical book that shows your progress towards the final document.

Usually it's a three-ring binder in which material is updated each week by the team's "archivist".

  • At the beginning of the project the book may contain only a table of contents
  • As the project progresses drafts of sections and early versions (even a page with just a title) of drawings are inserted.
  • This document is very helpful to review with your advisor/supervisor to ensure that everything necessary is included as you're making progress.
Project Archive
A record of all significant documents for the project.

This should be available for ready reference. The kinds of materials that would be in it include:

  • Meeting minutes
  • Research notes
  • Letters to and from others
  • Schedules
  • Notes from brainstorming meetings
  • Anything else that's relevant


Mistakes Teams Have Made

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Updated: 2/2/03