How to Take Field Notes

Brandwein Nature Learning Preserve

   Skill Building:
   How to Take Field Notes

A journal acts as a record of student observations and research activities. It should include: class notes, field observations and data, sketches, reading notes, as well as response/ reflection to articles assigned.

Each entry should be marked by the date and begin on a new page. Number each page and use the format for the “type” of entry as shown below.

The journal should be organized, not cramped and include diagrams, sketches, and maps where appropriate. Thoroughness and accuracy are important.


Sample pages

Table of Contents (leave 4 blank pages for this!)

Date                  Activity                                             Page #

9/05           Terrestrial Succession – class notes     1-2
9/06            BioPlot work on quadrats                       3-4
9/08            Kritcher, “Ecological Disturbance”,
                   Ecology, 4/09,   Reading Response        5


(Journal Page for Outdoor Research)

Date:  9/06/09                                              Page 3

Location: Brandwein Nature Learning Preserve
Habitat: Mixed Deciduous Forest
Time: 8:30 AM  Temp: 680  Humidity: 55%

(Your Notes, Sketches, Data, Comments ….)


(Journal Page for Reading Response)

Title: Ecological Disturbance              Page 5
Author: Kritcher
Publication: Ecology – April, 2009

(Your thoughts on the topic and connections to our course work.)

What did you learn? What does this article make you think about? How might it “influence” you in this course?


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