Lab BookSource:$splssku$
For a scientist the lab book is a record of everything connected with his or her research. It is a record of the procedures, observations and results of ongoing research and it is a place to record those ideas that occur to a scientist as he or she thinks about the work. It is a record of when ideas were born in case there is a dispute over patents or intellectual property. There are some standard procedures common to most institutions. These are listed below and are the organizational and procedural aspects of keeping a lab book. As well, there are some expectations as to the kinds of content expected. These are in the checklist that judges will use to assess your lab books.

Each student is required to submit a lab journal for part of their project evaluation. The type of lab book required is one that is easily obtainable at stores such as Staples or Office Depot. The recommended type is a Blueline Hardcover Flush-cut Composition Book (7 ¼” x 9 ¼”). They sell for under $10. Digital lab books are acceptable.

Laboratory Notebook Checklist

  1. Before you begin any entries, number every page of your lab book consecutively in the upper right hand corner of each page. Do not leave out any pages.
  2. Date every page of the book as you use it.
  3. Start a new page for each different experiment or project.
  4. Glue a copy of the experimental procedure or protocol in the notebook before the first time you use that procedure.
  5. Write down any observations you have during the experiment as soon as you notice them.
  6. Glue diagrams and photos in at the appropriate place and initial the corner of the photo or diagram.
      1. If you make a mistake, cross it out with a single stroke and initial it. Do not remove any pages from the book. Do not use white out or liquid paper.
      2. Do not leave empty pages between experiments. Just write “continued on page ##” where you end and “continued from page ##” where you begin again.
      3. If you are using kits in your protocols, make a summary in your lab book showing that you know what is happening.
      4. Include enough details so that others could repeat your experiments with or without kits. You are marking a trail for others to follow.
      5. Ensure your results are properly recorded as soon as the experiment is done.

IMPORTANT: Have your mentor sign the lab book indicating that he or she has seen it.