And until now, there was little advice to be found. All of our sources have experience; some of our sources have a lot of experience.Rather than starting from scratch, savvy investigators want to use their library and Internet research to help them find the best way to do things.You want to learn from the experience of others rather than blunder around and repeat their mistakes.It's also an opportunity to begin to demonstrate the creative and independent thinking required of a successful scientist. It's possible to function quite well as a postdoc or grad student while giving little thought to your future.Writing a research plan casts your gaze forward and prompts you to begin planning for when you have your own laboratory.Your research plan is a map for your career as a research science professional.As will become apparent later in this document, one of the functions of a research plan is to demonstrate your intellectual vision and aspirations. A research plan isn't just for demonstrating; it's also for honing and refining.And if you've already started to think about your own lab, it will help you to refine your plans.So take a stab at writing a research plan, even if you don't expect to be on the job market for a while. In that case what matters is, what is the committee looking for? Hiring committees desperately want to avoid making a serious mistake by investing institutional and intellectual capital in the wrong person.If we research every one of those questions we'll be studying farms, cows, cow udders, baby cows, and what cows eat. That information is definitely irrelevant to our science fair project question: Does drinking milk help decrease spiciness better than water or Pepsi?Nearly every applicant for a tenure-track faculty job is expected to include a research plan. Just as rare are programs designed to help doctoral students and postdocs learn how to create a research plan.