The Essence of a Laboratory Notebook

Through college, most of us have come to make utility of paper planners to manage days. One can capably take down due dates, phone numbers, scribble, and make to-do-lists on the go with just a pen and paper at hand.

In the laboratory, paper planners are particularly useful because one can organize so many things all at once. Taking inventory of experiments right from inception to when they are performed helps one keep track of everything worth remembering.

Notebooks are renown as being great at helping individuals embrace sound thinking practices. A notebook is a forum for one to engage in conversations with oneself, seek answers to questions and take note of important thoughts about experimental design and speculation all through the day.

Laboratory Notebook

Research has shown that the simple act of writing things down by hand goes a long way in helping memory retention. This is because one is able to slow down and approach planning with more mindfulness. By making notes, one is more likely to keep and maintain important work deadlines.

Importantly, in the laboratory, many of us start off projects and are at times faced with unmitigable circumstances that compel us to stop right in the middle of the tracks. Well taken notes on notebooks allow future research activities to proceed unabated. The free flow of information that comes when one has a notebook at hand can lead one to stumble upon novel ideas that could see them end up as successful individuals once patents are implemented.

Tips on Utility

Notebooks with stitched binding are ideas for jotting down notes in the lab. The spiral-bound notebooks are undesirable because the temptation to rip out a page when one is frustrated or has made a silly mistake is not ideal. On the other hand, glue-bound notebooks are also not preferred because glue fades after a period of time, either due to wear and tear or when unwanted maladies like cockroaches nibble at the glue. Stacks of loose paper and ring binders are absolute no-nos.

While some laboratory notebooks come with a “carbon copy” function to facilitate sheet duplication for storage and movement, they are not ideal since they encourage bad notebook procedures. Notebooks should ideally have lots of glued-in information; things like photographs, datasheet templates, graphs and product labels are unlikely to show up on the carbon copy. Specific details like Plant Cell Coloring Worksheet can get lost in the maze when proper notebooks are not used. Thus, it’s always best practice to go for convenience.

In terms of size, it’s a matter of preference. While larger notebooks are desirable because they allow for fast printer output without the need for scissors, smaller notebooks are easier to carry around the field and have the added allure of neatness. To boost creativity, smooth, non-fibrous surfaces are favored, even though they cost much more. Notebooks with pre-numbered pages also have an edge over numberless versions because of the time-saving factor.

Some essential maintenance procedures include devoting at least 2 pages to the table of contents where the notebook’s layout is displayed. This allows one to quickly go back to specific moments when going through old notebooks for some inspiration.

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