The field notebook is a critical tool in many subdomains of ecology. Here are three elements that I have found really useful for synthesis, discovery, and recovery of ideas from experiences outside.
- Summary of key observations. I try to capture at least 3-5 patterns or changes evident within a system.
- Questions. This is the most important element. Discovery happens from asking questions and practice
- Visual, qualitative, and quantitative data. Draw, record, write down what you see. Use this process to explore structure of the final data you will collect.
Here is a nice example of ten simple rules for similar notebooks: http://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004385