Laboratory Notebook

laboratory notebookStudents taking chemistry classes with Professor Walker are required to purchase a composition notebook (grid ruled recommended) to use as a laboratory notebook. Please do not purchase spiral notebooks. These type of composition notebooks may be found at Office Max, Staples, CVS, Walgreens, Beck's Book Store and they should not cost more than $10. I've had students tell me they found them for about $3. Please bring your notebook with you to every class - including the first class.

The key to a successful notebook is immediacy, recording observations directly into the notebook while in the lab. After the labortory is over it is important to return to your notebook and continue to add your thoughts, organize and attach any extras (photos, printed sections, etc.), and complete the laboratory write-up. You may find it useful to have a variety of ink colors available. Pencil should NEVER be used in a laboratory notebook as it fades or could be altered or erased. Also you need to resist the temptation to use any kind of white-out. Errors should have only one line through them and should remain impossible possible to read (just in case these entries need to be reconsidered). A laboratory notebook is not an ART notebook even though it can be very attractive. It has to also look like it has been used during laboratory and that means it may have some spills in it. Be careful to keep it away from any substances that are toxic - and that means you need to know about the properties of the chemicals you use.

Additional Resources to Learn More About Keeping a Laboratory Notebook

Sample Pages From Student Notebooks


These pages illustrate a variety of techniques for keeping a laboratory notebook including the use of diagrams, photographs, actual samples of substances, and graphs. All entries are permanent; written in ink and, if originally separate items, securely taped into the notebook.