Laboratory notebooks

Document your procedures, observations and conclusions, and help protect your intellectual property by keeping a record of your research in a University of Sydney printed lab notebook.

Bulk orders have closed for 2016.

Lab notebooks are available to purchase in single units only from the SRC bookshop.

You might also like to consider using an electronic notebook.

Why keep a research notebook?

Scientific, engineering and technical work often leads to a new result, idea or way of doing things. International best practice is to keep a laboratory notebook in which you record each step of your journey, including your intentions, propositions, dead ends, changes in direction, as well as your successes.

How to complete your notebook

The laboratory notebook is carefully designed to assist you to keep records properly. The following guide will enable you to use your notebook correctly.

Making entries into your notebook

It is a good idea to make a record of preparatory work in your notebook, including a list of papers that you have read and searches you have undertaken. Where searches have been conducted using the Internet, record the addresses of sites reviewed and the keyword combinations used.

When work has begun on your research you will need to enter into your notebook details of the work that has been performed. Consider the details below when making your entries:

  1. Entries should be contemporaneous and in chronological order with no empty spaces.
    Note: If you want to leave an empty space put a diagonal line through it.
  2. Entries should be made in permanent ink and attachments should be pasted into the book so that they cannot be removed.
    Note: Attachments include experimental results, printouts, receipts and purchase orders.
  3. Entries should have no erasures or pages removed.
    Note: Material can be crossed out provided it remains legible and reasons are given.
  4. Entries should not be changed in any way.
    Note: Material may be changed provided reasons are stated and the date of the original entry, later deletion, comment or change is clear.
  5. Entries should be entered in turn even if related information arises at different times.
    Note: You should not leave a space in anticipation of later results, but enter results in turn and cross-reference to each other.
  6. Entries should be detailed as necessary for someone technically competent to understand it.
  7. Entries should record the contribution of other persons involved.
  8. You, and an independent witness, should sign and date each page of the book as it is completed and each attachment when it is inserted.