Engineers need high-quality notebooks to store their ideas, experiments, and inventions. Without a record of the processes they go through and the results they achieve, there’s no way of verifying an experiment or the engineer who performed it. A proper engineering notebook serves as both a resource for the engineer and a verifiable timeline for anyone reviewing their work. Learn more about the purpose of an engineering notebook and why it’s much more valuable than an average journal with this guide.
When you look back at your research and experiments, you should be able to find the exact information you need. A good engineering notebook will hold your theories, observations, results, and more. It will help you keep track of the details of every experiment, exact calculations, and all the third-party research and input you gather. Keeping this information in a neat, organized journal allows you to easily locate and refer back to past records whenever you need them.
Many engineers pursue patents for their projects. This process requires a detailed, dated record of the engineer’s process to prove that the invention is a result of their design and hard work. Manufacturers design engineering notebooks to hold not just the results of your work but also the dates you conceived of the idea, when and how you tested it, and other information necessary for a patent. Your engineering notebook keeps your work accountable so that you can answer legal questions or disputes that may arise during the patent process.
Engineering Notebook Best Practices
The purpose of an engineering notebook is to provide an accurate and verifiable account of your work. If you use it correctly, the information within your engineering lab notebook can change your career. As such, there are a few key practices and techniques every engineer uses to get the most out of their notebook. You should write legibly and in ink. The notebook should contain precise details of ideas, practices, observations, and results—this information should also include the dates associated with said details. The work should be chronological, and you should sign and date each entry. When relevant, witnesses should also sign and date entries in the notebook. The more thorough and accurate your engineering notebook is, the more reliable your research and results are in the eyes of your peers.