LAB BOOKS

(This section is adapted from a document developed by Dr. P. Anyalebechi)

 

Each student is required to maintain a well-kept and up-to-date laboratory notebook. Use this notebook to record all of the details of the various experiments and tests that are performed no matter how trivial they may seem at the time. The entries should include the following five elements:

 

1. Title of and date the test was performed

 

2. Objective of the test or experiment

 

3. A brief description of the experimental or test apparatus or machine and the procedure used

 

4. Results obtained -- including visual observations and computer data file names (if the results were obtained with a data acquisition system)

 

5. Preliminary thoughts on the significance of the results

 

Notice that these elements parallel the required sections of a laboratory report and facilitate writing the required report.

 

At the end of each lab period, have the notebook witnessed and signed by either the instructor or a laboratory assistant. The notebook should be submitted to your instructor for grading within 24 hours of the end of the lab.

 

For team studies, every member of the team is expected to keep an independent record (in his/her own laboratory notebook) of the date, objective, experimental procedure, results, and preliminary interpretation of the results. This will facilitate team discussions.

 

Well-kept laboratory notebooks are very important. They facilitate the statistical analysis and interpretation of the data and the eventual writing of a final technical report. They provide a legal record of events and often make the difference between winning or losing legal cases on patents and on a company's right to use a certain technology in their manufacturing facilities. Losing one of these cases could bankrupt a company or cost it millions of dollars in royalty!

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