Recording and Graphing Data

General Notebook Rules

Data collected by professional chemists are always kept in laboratory notebook. If your instructor is requiring you to use a notebook, you should follow the guidelines below. Many of these guidelines also apply to data recorded on data sheets or in laboratory manuals. If in doubt about whether or not they apply to you, make sure to ask your instructor.

1. The notebook must be a permanently bound book (no spiral or loose-leaf notebooks).

2. Entries in the notebook must be legible.

3. The notebook must be understandable to someone other than yourself.

4. All pages are numbered.

5. Make the first page a table of contents. This should be updated as experiments are done.

6. All data is to be entered directly into the notebook, in ink. In some instances, calculations can be done in pencil.

7. No pages are to be removed from the notebook. Any additional material should be permanently attached to a page.

8. Do not obliterate mistaken entries. A single line should be placed through the mistaken entry and the correction made above or next to it. Initial the change and provide an explanation if necessary

9. Sign and date the bottom of each page.

10. Do not leave blank pages. If one is left inadvertently, it should be marked as blank.

Continue and read about common notebook sections.