The Scientific Protocol
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The first document you will have to write when developing a new project is the scientific protocol. In some research environments it is referred to as the project description, because this is essentially what it is; a description of your research question and a detailed plan on how you are going to answer it. The scientific protocol for a single research project will consist of approximately 5–10 printed pages. Larger projects with many elements or multiple research questions may of course lead to more extensive protocols, but in general a protocol is a concise document. Writing a scientific protocol for the first time is a challenging task that requires a lot of preparation, and benefits greatly from regular interaction with your supervisor. It is, however, absolutely a worthwhile task. A well thought out scientific protocol saves you time, it helps you anticipate and control for potential pit falls or problems which may occur during the life cycle of the project. This chapter gives you the overview of what a protocol should comprise and how you design it.