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Lab Notebook


General Guidelines

  • bring to class every day.
  • never write on separate paper (or type in a document) to transfer later
  • write in only dark blue or black ink
  • mistakes are crossed out – no erasing or white out
  • no page should ever be ripped out or removed for any reason
  • no photocopies are allowed to be taped into the book
  • label the top of every page
  • if a section does not apply to a lab, do not include it in the report
  • the rubric for evaluating Lab Reporting [LINK]

Lab Notebook Parts

I. Purpose

  • Clear, concise, measurable
  • full sentence, does not start with “to”
  • most likely no more than a single sentence

II. Background Theory

  • full sentences (do not need to connect with each other)
  • all equations and reactions MUST be included
  • relevant connecting theories to the lab activity
  • does not include procedure / may include theory of procedure
  • sources must be proper – no class notes are sources
  • citations at end of the section

III. Procedure

  • minimum five bullet points
  • major plot points in procedure only
  • always full sentences (3rd person passive)
  • do not include obvious steps (i.e. cleaning)
  • include a separate list of the chemicals / solutions used
  • include a list of equipment used

IV. Data

  • introductory sentence(s) for the section
  • introdctory sentence before each table (above the table title)
  • labeled columns and rows
  • all given (known) information included
  • Data table and introductory sentence required BEFORE lab starts
  • Data = anything directly recorded (with units), organized in a table
  • no calculations / interpretations / conversions of any kind allowed

V. Calculations

  • introductory sentence for the section
  • introductory sentence for any separate parts / tables in the section
  • Clear, logical support for calculations
  • One example of each calculation minimum
  • use prescribed format (Title, Formula, Number Example)
  • All results summarized in table(s)
  • Only one example of each type of calculation
  • If you plot a graph then this is mentioned in this section
  • [NOTE: there is no “Calculation” section if the lab does not require calculations.]

VI. Analysis

  • paragraph 1 – Use the CER thinking to support the claim (conclusion) you are making in the experiment. (Claim, Evidence, Reasoning = CER). This paragraph is NOT a restatement of calculations or data.
  • paragraph 2 – Identify the uncertainty in obtaining results, and how each uncertainty impacts the results.

VII. Conclusion

  • report the direct findings of your experiment.
  • this should connect directly with the purpose
  • complete sentence(s) / no data or calculations
  • no opinions or restatement of error or uncertainty


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