Tips for Outlining a Research Notebook

Tips for Outlining a Research Notebook

Your research notebook is a crucial tool in your scientific studies. Not only does it help you remember how you conducted your experiments, but it is also a record for posterity. Your notes could even become a valuable historical or legal document in the future. To keep your notes organized, check out these tips for outlining a research notebook.

Keep Experiments Separate

Each experiment should have its own page or section in your notebook. Pick up a lab book from Scientific Notebook, and you’ll find that each page has a space to write the date and title of the experiment. Take advantage of the numbered pages, too—draw up a table of contents at the front of the book.

Write Legibly

For your research notebook to help you and others, you have to read what you’ve written. You may want to use a pencil in your notebook so that you can erase mistakes. Don’t! Mistakes are vital learning tools, too. Use a waterproof pen to outline your research, and if you make any mistakes, don’t scribble them out. Strikethrough them with a single line so you can still read them later. Leave a good amount of space in the margins to write extra notes for later transcription.

Follow Procedure

If your lab or educational institution has a format they follow, learn that format and stick to it. Since your notebook is a part of the lab, make it as easy as possible for your colleagues to read it. Take a peek at those colleagues’ notebooks, too; how are they outlining their research? Ask your more seasoned peers for tips they learned at that lab.


OMRAD stands for Objective, Methods, Results, and Discussion. This structure encourages you to include as many details as possible in your lab notes, which is essential when keeping a notebook. Be thorough! Document your goal or objective, how you conduct your experiment, what results you achieve, and any feedback or talking points from others. Leave no note unwritten. Conduct your research with confidence by keeping a thorough record of your experiments. Scientific Notebook’s selection of lab and research notebooks encourages you to start on fresh pages every day and note dates, times, and witnesses. With these tips for outlining a research notebook, your work will become an important part of your lab’s history.

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