Laboratory Notebook

One of the objectives of this laboratory course is learning to keep a good notebook, which keeps an accurate and comprehensive record of your laboratory work. The notebook is extremely important in research and development organizations. Many patents have been decided by the complete account of work in the notebook or lack of entries in the notebook.

The intention of maintaining a good notebook is to cultivate habit of keeping complete record of experimental work. Your notebook should be like a diary, recording daily work in the lab in the form of data tables, sketches of diagrams, interpretation of data, speculation about results, calculations, causes of failure of experiment, possible sources of error, deviation from expected result, plan to repeat and fix the errors previously made. The following suggestions will help you to keep a good notebook:

  1. The notebook may be any notebook with fastened-in pages.
  2. Write all entries in ink. Write name and course title number on the front page. Include your phone number and email in case your notebook is misplaced.
  3. Date every page when you record your work. Place table of contents in the beginning of the notebook showing date, experiment title, and page number.
  4. Number all pages of the notebook. Do not tear off any page. If you want to omit a page, cross out that page.
  5. Label all graphs, tables and diagrams.
  6. Write on one side of the page and the entries should be legible.
  7. Do not write things on pieces of paper, then go home, and copy them in your notebook. Make entries directly into your notebook. You will not have time to write things twice.
  8. If you make a mistake, cross out.
  9. Do not spend lot of time in making tables and fancy figures. The main purpose of the notebook is to keep a good record of work, which should be able to reproduce work recorded in it two years later.
  10. Record the instrument used, its model number, manufacturer, and specified identifier, for EE 240 lab bench station number is sufficient.
  11. Each student should have his/her notebook. You and the lab partner must sign and date the notebook at the end of the lab session.
  12. Don't copy material from other student's notebook.
  13. You must show your laboratory work entered in the notebook to the laboratory instructor. The entry in the notebook should be signed and dated by lab instructor. If the notebook is not checked by the laboratory instructor, you will not receive a grade for your laboratory work.
  14. A good notebook can be judged by answering the following questions:
    1. Can someone well versed with your work can repeat your results by following the notes from your notebook?
    2. After a period of six months or more, can you make sense of your work in your notebook?
If the answer is yes to the questions above, then you are keeping a good notebook