UW Graduate School

January 25, 2017

Project Prep

I’m a graduate student in Engineering. How do I effectively organize the data, code and writing materials for a project?  —Anonymous

Well, that is the million dollar question, isn’t it? Everyone has their own methods, and hopefully you’ve written enough smaller papers that you’ve developed certain techniques for organizing and writing. However, as many students find, in graduate school, papers and projects become so much larger that they often require new tactics and strategies. There is a wealth of resources available on campus to help guide you:

  • Mentor Memos
    The UW Graduate School offers a series of Mentor Memos — penned by UW faculty and staff — that cover topics such as “What’s the best way to pick a lab?” “How can you manage a large writing project?” “How do you work the crowd at a cocktail party with confidence and ease?” and much more. You might be particularly interested in Managing Large Writing Projects.
  • UW Libraries’ Resources
  • Writing Centers
    • Includes centers for Tacoma and Bothell campuses

Good luck! Readers, please share your own tips and successful strategies in the comments!

Ask the Grad School Guru is an advice column for all y’all graduate and professional students. Real questions from real students, answered by real people. If the guru doesn’t know the answer, the guru will seek out experts all across campus to address the issue. (Please note: The guru is not a medical doctor, therapist, lawyer or academic advisor, and all advice offered here is for informational purposes only.) Submit a question for the column →


  1. Hi Guru. This is a great question that we see at the Libraries often! For students with questions about how to organize data and code, the Research Data Services unit of the Libraries is here to support researchers’ data management needs. This includes help finding and accessing data, data management planning, data organization, reuse of data, data sharing and storage, data citation, and more. We can also help connect users with experts around campus for questions about coding and software. Please see our website at https://www.lib.washington.edu/dataservices, and email us at libdata@uw.edu.

    Comment by Jenny Muilenburg on January 25, 2017 at 4:35 pm