Your work in lab will be kept in a laboratory notebook, which will be evaluated in lab from time to time. Please use an Ampad #22-157 Computation Book, which is available at Huntley Bookstore. You may reuse a notebook from a previous course if it has room.
Often, it is easier to document your work electronically, since you will be taking data on a computer. That's perfectly acceptable, too. Here's a sample electronic notebook with some hints on using Igor to simplify the note-keeping.
You should keep track of all your work, including “scratch” calculations, in your notebook. Your notebook is not supposed to look perfect, as though you worked everything out somewhere else and copied it neatly into the book. Rather, it should be a working record of your activity and thoughts as you perform experiments.
We find it helpful to use the following conventions:
- Make chronological entries on the right-hand page.
- Date each page.
- Use lists and short phrases to explain your procedure
- Use tables to record data
- Use sketches to show the apparatus and how it is set up for your experiment. Make these large enough to show all relevant detail. Label distances symbolically, and tabulate dimensions near the sketch.
- If you prepare a graph using Igor Pro or other program, print it out, cut it out, and tape it into the notebook right away. Make sure to explain where the data for the graph may be found, what the graph shows, and what it means.