Keeping a laboratory notebook is essential for maintaining the accuracy and integrity of your research. There are a few things to keep in mind, when it comes to your notebook, so that you can ensure your research is valid and beyond reproach. Use this guide to set up your notebook properly.
Your book should be labeled with your name, the study name, your primary researcher (if that is not you), and the volume number. Remember that your notes should be sufficient enough to write your research paper with all conclusions, without having to use any other sources—except, of course, reference to other research projects for a compare/contrast analysis.
You should keep your notebook secure within your research facility. It should only be used while on-site, so there can be no question of where your information came from and how you arrived at your conclusions. Your notes should always be made with permanent ink—never pencil. Remember that your notebook is designed to track all of your work, both successes and failures. Pencil indicates a willingness to change your findings, and may compromise your chances of proving an idea is yours, in court.
Laboratory notebooks are one of the most important tools you will use in your research. When used correctly, they can serve as a permanent record of your work and can be critical for patents in court. Be sure to follow these rules to ensure your laboratory notebook is accurate and reliable.