A few blog posts ago, I wrote about how I wanted to approach my research as one large database.  Possibly the most useful aspect of this approach is that I have a pretty organized way to look at all the data parameters that support different parts of my argument.  As I described in my earlier blog post, each row is a different media building, and each column is an extended field describing one data parameter.  As I began populating the database, I refined my process.  Below is a screenshot of what my media buildings database is looking like right now.

Media Architecture Database

Media Architecture Database

I realized as I started populating my database that I wasn’t keeping track of citations and where I read the information I was gathering.  For this reason, I started using the Comment function in Excel to organize all my citations.  In the screenshot above you can see the comment hovering over one of the cells showing the citations.

After collecting several photographs and media artifacts, I realized that I needed a way to manage these in a database as well.  For this reason, I created a second tab on my database called Media so I could keep track of each media artifact, their content, the rough citation of where I found them (I know the formatting isn't quite right yet, but I'll get to that), and any additional notes.  Below is a screenshot of that tab.

Media artifacts tab

Media artifacts tab

At first I was going to give each artifact a ‘unique identifier’ so that I would be able to find the file in my media folder.  Since I was trying to keep things simple for myself, I decided instead to give each artifact a unique name according to its content so that I could have a vague idea of what the file contains by just looking at the name.  Since I’m looking at various media buildings, I gave each artifact a name related to the media company and/or an address that I can relate to that media company.  In the right most column (Notes Relating to Use in Project) is where I will mark the artifacts I plan to use in my final project.

Another interesting tool I have been using is the view in Microsoft Word called “Notebook Layout.”  This layout allows you to create a number of tabs (which in a normal layout act as page breaks), which I have been using to organize each of my sources.  In the screenshot below you can see some of the different tabs in my notes.

Sources and notebook notes

Sources and notebook notes

At some point, I am hoping to turn these notes into a few mini-essays that I can pepper throughout my argument in URT.  I plan to use another Word file with tabs to organize each of these mini-essays.

Well there we are! These have been the primary methods I have used to organize my data throughout this process.