The Laboratory Notebook

The Laboratory Notebook - The Laboratory Notebook1,2,3...

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The Laboratory Notebook 1,2,3 Authors: B. D. Lamp, D. L. McCurdy, A. E. Moody, M. C. Nagan and J. M. McCormick Last Update: August 9, 2006 Introduction The laboratory notebook is perhaps the single most important piece of laboratory equipment. A scientist’s notebook may be directly entered as evidence in court, and as such may be worth millions to a company in patent litigation. While you may never be in a situation where your notebook is worth a million dollars, good record keeping is essential in all scientific research. In an academic laboratory, the consequences of poor record keeping are wasted time, as you repeat the experiment, or simply failing the exercise. In an industrial laboratory, inadequate lab records ultimately cost the company money, either in the cost of time and materials or as the result of legal action. In either case, the cost to the responsible employee is their job and all possible future employment. Thus, adequate record keeping will be stressed in all chemistry laboratories at Truman. There are many different sets of rules for keeping a laboratory notebook, 3 which range from the very elaborate rules followed by industrial chemists to the simplified rules listed below. Not all of the points given here will apply to all courses; your instructor will point out modifications to these procedures in his or her syllabus or in the laboratory. No matter what guidelines you use, the goal is to produce a record of a scientific endeavor that is understandable to a knowledgeable reader and which can be used to repeat the experiment and, presumably, get the same results. Notebook Format and Rules Laboratory records are to be kept in a bound notebook (i. e., secured with glue), not a spiral notebook or a loose-leaf binder. The pages are to be consecutively numbered. No pages are ever to be removed (except for the copies produced by duplicating notebooks). All entries are to be made directly in the notebook in black or blue ink. Everything related to the laboratory work must be recorded in the notebook in an organized and neat manner (if it cannot be easily read, it is not adequately recorded). It is critical that the material is intelligible and understandable to the notebook author and any trained chemist who reads the records, attempts to reproduce these results, or endeavors to finish an incomplete analysis. This concept is often known as “traceable” in the industrial world. It is unacceptable under all circumstances to rewrite (or “copy over”) an experiment in the notebook outside of lab. It is also unacceptable to type up portions of the laboratory notebook in a word processor and then attach the printout to your notebook. Plan your
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activities in the laboratory so that all information is properly entered into the notebook while you are in the laboratory. Include in the notebook a complete description of the work performed, all reference
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course CHEM 121 taught by Professor Baughman during the Spring '08 term at Truman State.

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The Laboratory Notebook - The Laboratory Notebook1,2,3...

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