Typically, it takes a student eight years to complete their college education in pursuit of a Pharm.D., which allows them to become a qualified pharmacist. During this time, students will often use a laboratory notebook to record research and experiment details. It’s the first place you register all of your work, including hypotheses, experimental setup, data, calculations, and initial analysis.
Data recorded in a bound lab notebook can be helpful for many reasons, from organizational to legal, including providing proof of completed work for intellectual property and copyright purposes. Making entries should occur as the observations happen, rather than after establishing the fact. Student lab notebooks will include a table of contents and voided blank pages. When conducting two experiments simultaneously, you can move back and forth between them, or divide the page into columns. If you make a mistake, draw a line through it and ensure all markings are permanent and in ink. Below are a few reasons why you should have a lab notebook.
Helps You Keep Track of Your Experiments
A well-maintained bound lab notebook provides you with a record of the progress of your experiments. After carefully taking into account the steps taken in an analysis, you can easily pick up from where you left off after some time away. Data recorded in a bound lab notebook also comes in handy when you need to double-check your work before moving on to an important step.
With a laboratory notebook, you can carefully record ideas for future reference. It is an excellent way of keeping a record of the tasks you have yet to do. Since the lab life can be chaotic, recording ideas ensure you remember all the nitty-gritty details of your work. Having a clear plan is essential for a student working in the laboratory.
Organizing Your Work
You can prepare for future experiments by lining up the right protocols in your bound lab notebook. Having your plans detailed and already laid out means you spend less time figuring out what to do next. In case you need to repeat an experiment, you can refer to the protocol already outlined in your notebook.
Since the numbering of pages of a bound lab notebook is bound together, it is easier to keep your work organized. Some laboratory notebooks require you to number every page as they are not pre-numbered. It is imperative to follow the recommendations of the lab instructor as rules regarding numbering may vary.
Acts as a Reference for Teamwork
Some experiments involve multiple lab students working in groups, which means that there may be significant portions of an investigation under your partners’ direct responsibility. When working as a team, you might need to delegate the work, which is easy to oversee if you can refer back to your lab notebook. Having full and organized notes all in one place would be very helpful for you and your partners.
You can give a review and feedback on your teammates’ work based on entries made to your student lab notebook. By recording allocated duties, you can keep track of the overall progress. The bound lab notebook enables you to ensure you keep up with your contributions to any team projects.
Supports Integrity of Future Publications
In the course of your lab life, you may discover an idea that you and your lab partners want to patent. To succeed in getting a license, you will need to show a record of your work and your process and the schedule on which you performed your experiments. If you want to gain merit in any future publications, document your experiments properly in a bound lab notebook.
Keeping a lab notebook will provide a clear track record of your research and data to support your claims. Documenting all your experiments in a bound lab notebook protects your rights, especially if someone else tries to patent the same discovery.
Innovators and inventors need to keep detailed and organized notes while working on their research. Therefore, having a bound lab notebook encourages sound thinking and provides a central physical place to record data.