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The Laboratory Notebook A Record of Experimentation and Observation Ref: Porush, David. A Short Guide to Writing About Science.” HarperCollins, NY, 1995 Communication Flow in Science Problem Setting Experiment Observation Lab Notebook Lab report Written Communication

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the laboratory notebook

The Laboratory Notebook

A Record of Experimentation

and Observation

Ref: Porush, David. A Short Guide to Writing About Science.” HarperCollins, NY, 1995

communication flow in science
Communication Flow in Science

Problem Setting

Experiment

Observation

Lab Notebook

Lab report

written communication
Written Communication
  • Writing begins in the lab!
what is a lab notebook for
What Is a Lab Notebook For?
  • Serves as a record of experimentation and observation
    • an eyewitness account recorded at the scene of the action
    • carries legal weight (when properly kept)
  • Can be an intellectual diary
  • Serves as the basis of the formal report
parts of a lab notebook
Parts of a Lab Notebook
  • Clear identification of time, place and people directly involved in experiment
  • Brief statement of the problem/purpose of the experiment
  • Detailed descriptions of the apparatus
  • Detailed instructions for setting up the apparatus

…… more …..

parts of a lab notebook cont
Parts of a Lab Notebook (cont.)
  • Instructions for conducting the experiment
  • Description of the method for collecting the data
  • Complete records of data/other observations
  • Description of method for analyzing data
  • Brief analysis/interpretations of data
  • Brief statement of conclusions
checklist for style for notebook
Checklist for Style for Notebook
  • Will other researchers be able to reconstruct the setup?
  • Will other researchers be able to conduct the experiment?
  • Will other researchers be able to understand the results?
  • Will other researchers be able to understand the conclusions?

….. more …..

checklist for style cont
Checklist for Style… (cont.)
  • Have I numbered the pages of the notebook?
  • Does every entry have a date (and time)?
  • Is every entry signed?
  • Have I eliminated blanks with diagonal lines?
guidelines for recording data
Guidelines for Recording Data
  • Record everything in ink
  • Enter all data directly into the notebook
  • Record data in the order in which you made the observations, i.e., chronologically
  • Make sure each data point has a number and a dimension or unit of measurement
  • Record data with correct significant figures

….more…..

guidelines for recording cont
Guidelines for Recording…(cont)
  • Make corrections and deletions by lining through words or figures with a single line in ink (no erasures!)
  • Leave minimal blank space between entries
  • Use diagonal lines to fill larger blank spaces
  • Date and sign each page
  • Have each page signed by a knowledgeable witness
steps in interpreting data
Steps in Interpreting Data
  • Find generalities about the data by applying mathematical/statistical methods and matching to different hypotheses or theories
  • Make qualitative judgments about the data
  • Decide which competing explanation of the data makes more sense
  • Note specific points of agreement or disagreement with hypothesis you were testing
lab notebooks in meng 3207
Lab Notebooks in MENG 3207
  • Your lab notebook number will be your initials (3) and the last four digits of your student number (e.g., ABC1234)
    • Use this number along with page number(s) when referencing lab data in lab reports
  • Put your name, MENG 3207-01, and lab notebook number on inside front cover
    • (optional) include your address or telephone number in case you lose the notebook
lab notebooks in meng 320713
Lab Notebooks in MENG 3207
  • All entries are to be made in ink
  • Don’t leave any pages blank
    • use “To Page No./From Page No.” to indicate sequence of pages
  • Maintain a Table of Contents, listing the experiments included in the notebook
  • Each experiment is to include the “parts” of a lab notebook described earlier
lab notebooks in meng 320714
Lab Notebooks in MENG 3207
  • Come to the lab with drafts of the following in your own words
    • brief statement of the objective(s) of the experiment
    • description of the apparatus and materials
    • instructions for setting up the apparatus
    • instructions for conducting the experiment
    • data sheets
lab notebooks in meng 320715
Lab Notebooks in MENG 3207
  • Confirm that your drafts are factual, then enter them into the lab notebook before taking any data
    • note: if the descriptions of the setup and methods in the lab handout are correct, sufficiently detailed, and lengthy, you can substitute a summary of these, then reference the original document and (properly) include it in the notebook
lab notebooks in meng 320716
Lab Notebooks in MENG 3207
  • Record all data chronologically and directly in the notebook, not on “scratch paper”
  • Make observations in the notebook during and after collecting data
  • Have pages witnessed before leaving the lab
lab notebooks in meng 320717
Lab Notebooks in MENG 3207
  • After collecting the data, continue to use the notebook to complete the lab
    • describe method(s) for analyzing the data
    • record all results of data analysis
      • use appropriate significant figures
    • give brief analysis/interpretation of data, including charts and graphs
    • give brief statement of conclusions
    • have all pages witnessed
summary
Summary
  • Lab notebooks serve as a record of experimentation and observation
  • In this course, the lab notebooks will contain
    • all information needed to conduct the experiment (entered before data collection)
    • all data collected during the experiment
    • all observations and analyses made during and after conducting the experiment