How to write a laboratory research notebook

All of these guidelines can be useful in proving exactly when a discovery was made, in the case of a patent dispute. You will be in trouble if you obscure the remark, but could be in even more trouble if you leave it in.

Such a record is necessary if you or your employer are to keep your rights to your discoveries. Include complete details of all first-time procedures. Some investigators prefer to attach such materials to the notebook itself, but too many such items make a sloppy notebook and can stress the binding.

Also, as with hardbound notebooks, data such as small graphs, photos of gels, and so on, which can be attached to the laboratory notebook page should be attached using the same methods as described above. Use continuation notes when necessary. Each page should be numbered and dated consistently.

How to Start—and Keep—a Laboratory Notebook: Page 1 Always date and number every page in a consistent manner e. Another scientist might have to take up where you left off. Hardbound notebooks generated by computers The same guidelines apply to hardbound notebooks generated by computers as for hand-written laboratory notebooks.

To validate your records, another investigator should look over the entries in your lab book as frequently as possible. On the other hand a student might record your class lecture notes, lab lecture notes, ideas, questions, library research notes, and notes that are part of any pre-lab preparation.

In addition, clear laboratory notebook records are essential to document intellectual property, technology transfer, and patent issues. When you finish a page, put a corner-to corner line through any blank parts that could still be used for data entry.

What should you include. Institutions should have a comprehensive policy that should be rigorously implemented see Box 1 for guidelines for a notebook policy. Record HOW each procedure is done, even such mundane procedures as pipetting, calibrating a spectophotometer, or finding cells in a microscope.

Lab Notebooks

Document the materials you use including specific brands, quantities, and costs. Entries must be complete enough that another scientist would have little or no trouble understanding and repeating the experiments.

What Goes into a Laboratory Notebook. Hardbound notebooks containing electronically captured data At laboratories where a large amount of data are generated and stored in the computer, a written laboratory notebook, with all of the guidelines referred to above, is still required.

A summary of the data can be placed in the laboratory notebook. When you start each new page of a notebook enter the date next to the page number.

For example, a protocol for tissue fractionation may recommend centrifugation at x g, but we may decide to use 12, x g in the lab.

Examples of Notebook Pages and Entries

Your lab notebook entries should be easy to read, but do not worry if the entries are not perfectly neat or if you make a mistake. Document procedures within a reasonable time of doing them - during busy times your memory can fail you.

Even if your entry is very short, adding a date helps you track when you took certain steps or made certain observations. Dates are given as a rule. They indicate where the work left off and how it might resume. Corrections must be made by drawing a single line through the entry see Figure 3. However, if a procedure is unsuccessful you may want to check to see that you used the correct rpm or correct rotor.

What to enter Above all, it is critical that you enter all procedures and data directly into your notebook in a timely manner, that is, while you are conducting the actual work.

Lab notebook

Once bound, the laboratory notebook will be assigned a number, recorded, and returned to the researcher or archived, upon request.

Even if it seems trivial or inconsequential, you should write it down. This way, you never need to reserve space for further entries.

Examples of Notebook Pages and Entries

You and a supervisor sign and date each page, and an independent person checks it periodically, say, once per week. Choosing a notebook For most purposes you may select a bound notebook, quadrille-ruled. Examples of Notebook Pages and Entries.

Here are examples of a title page and specific notebook entries. The work may be ancient history but as an example of recordkeeping this mateiral may be far more effective than general guidelines in delivering the message. The difference is that rather than purchasing a laboratory notebook and writing in it, research activity is documented electronically.

The documentation is printed out on a regular basis and then bound to form a laboratory notebook. Laboratory Research Notebook [Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

How to Start–and Keep–a Laboratory Notebook: Policy and Practical Guidelines

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press presents the ultimate research notebook, the perfect tool for the student as well as the professional researcher. Write a customer review. See all 2 customer reviews. This is a solid /5(2). The bare minimum entries for an academic lab course, for each lab study, should include title of the lab study; introduction and objectives; detailed procedures and data (recorded in the lab itself); summary.

We usually record a lot more information in a laboratory notebook than we would report in a research paper. A lab notebook is the primary permanent record of your research and experiments.

Note that if you are taking an AP Placement lab course, you need to present a suitable lab notebook in order to get AP credit at most colleges and universities. Maintaining a laboratory notebook. Especially good to have wording like this if you do field research with your notebook.

Bling. If the notebook is yours, take some pride in what you do and get crafty with the exterior. For the same reason, never use correction fluids (e.g., White Out) or strips of white laboratory tape. Write legibly.

How to write a laboratory research notebook
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Guidelines for keeping a laboratory notebook