Reasons to Keep a Lab Notebook

If you are taking your first science course or working in a laboratory for the first time, you may be unfamiliar with lab notebooks and how to fill them out. They serve an important purpose, and keeping good records is imperative, in the areas of science and research. Follow a few simple tips, and your lab notebook will be a useful resource for your project.

You need to keep a daily record of why experiments were begun and what they accomplished. You can never rely on your memory alone. If your work leads to an important discovery or patent application, you will need to be able to prove what you did.

Maintaining your notebook gives you one place to store your data. You can keep your statistics in it, along with graphs of your hits and misses. Gone are the days when you could simply jot your notes on a Post-it note or piece of scratch paper. A lab notebook lets you be accountable. With your notes neatly collected in one place, you can review them easily and brainstorm new ideas.

In the event you want or need to pass on your research or project, you will be able to do so in an orderly fashion. While you may not think this is a realistic possibility, you never know when genius will strike. In the event you are unable to complete your work, a well-kept notebook is your legacy and your successor’s roadmap to the completion of the project. Never underestimate the power of good record keeping.