(hauser) lab notebook rules

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  • 8/8/2019 (Hauser) Lab Notebook Rules


    Hauser '09 1


    The laboratory notebook is an important tool in preparing for an experiment,recording data and observations during an experiment, and assessing resultsafter an experiment has been completed. The format given on this handout isonly one of several possible formats. This format consists of the three portionsbelow:

    PRE-LAB: Title/Purpose/Advance Preparation/MaterialsDURING LAB: Procedure and Observations/CalculationsPOST-LAB: Questions and Problems/Conclusions

    Lab notebooks are a tool. Don't be afraid if this tool gets dirty! Record all data onthese pages - never temporarily on paper towels, your lab partner's notebook, oron your shirt sleeve! If your penmanship is not great, you need to cross out amistake, or you spill some water on the notebook, do not be concerned. This is aworking document. Your goal is to complete a lab notebook so that anotherchemist could reproduce your work and get similar results. All notebooks MUSTbe written in ink. Notebooks are normally written in bound books of sequentiallynumbered pages where no pages can be removed for any reason. However, forthis assignment, loose-leaf paper will be allowed.The format, along with some examples, is given below. Label each portion ofyour lab report with the headings given in capital letters.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------TITLE: Give title of experiment.

    PURPOSE: This is a single sentence that states what is being investigated andwhat information the investigations should reveal.

    Example: A mixture of salt and sand are to be quantitatively separatedusing water solubility properties in order to determine the percentage of salt andsand in the mixture.

    ADVANCE PREPARATION: If the procedure involves a chemical reactionknown in advance, state this reaction here using chemical structures andnomenclature. Make sure you understand WHY this reaction is expected tooccur. Formula weights that will be required for calculations should appear in thissection also. List any appropriate background and safety info.

    MATERIALS: List only major items necessary for the experiment, omitting

    supplies like matches, paper towels, etc.

    PROCEDURE AND OBSERVATIONS: This section must be written while it isbeing performed in the lab. - NEVER in advance, NEVER after the lab. Theprocedure should be written in past tense and in third person singular. Keep itsimple. Note observations as they occur - these may seem insignificant at thetime, but may prove useful later. Paragraph style is acceptable, but a bulleted ora numbered, stepwise format is preferable. (continued on next page)

  • 8/8/2019 (Hauser) Lab Notebook Rules


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    Example:1) Weighed 3.57 g unknown #2 into a dry 100 mL beaker.2) Added 10 mL distilled water to beaker.3) Heated beaker over bunsen burner. Steam produced; mixture turnedblack in color.

    4) .....

    CALCULATIONS: If calculations are required, use data recorded in the previoussection and show the mathematical procedure used. Be sure to include units.

    Example: % sand = (weight of sand) / (weight of mixture) X 100%% sand = ( 5.60 g ) / (9.87 g) X 100% = 56.7375 % rounded

    QUESTIONS AND PROBLEMS: If these are included at the end of theexperiment in the lab manual or are given by the instructor, recopy the questionsand answer them.

    CONCLUSIONS: This portion of the report tells what you learned in theexperiment. It is probably the most important section and you should spendsufficient time on this. Restate your results. If you were given an unknown, besure to include the unknown number and your findings. Consider the purpose ofthe experiment. Did the investigation give you some pertinent information?Discuss this in detail. How does it relate to what you already know? How reliableis the data? What are some sources of error? Were these significant? Couldimprovements or additional investigations be made? Discuss them.

    BEFORE YOUR LAB SESSION MEETS:Carefully study this Procedure For Laboratory Notebook handout, then followthese additional hints in preparing for this lab.

    Only the colored paper issued by the instructor will be accepted for thislab. No white paper. This is to insure that the required sections were carried outin advance and that proper notebook procedures were followed. Do not includeany portion of this handout or the bookstore lab book. Your notebook must be astand-alone document that would allow reproduction of your scientific results.

    Are there any reactions and molecular weights you should include in your pre-lab portion. Special safety issues?

    The pre-lab portion of your notebook will be checked immediately at thestart of lab. Failure to have these portions completed will result in a gradededuction. Do not prepare any other notebook sections than those described inthe pre-lab section.

    Your instructor will issue a colored sheet of paper prior to the day of this lab foryou to set up your Pre-lab work.

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