Whether you are conducting a laboratory experiment as a science fair project or a classroom activity, it is important to take complete and accurate notes of everything that you do. A science log book, or experiment journal, is a notebook that provides a written record of everything that you do in conducting your science project. A log book will help you to keep track of your data, and can be used to organise and prepare a presentation. Keeping a log book also helps ensure that you do not lose any important information.
Use a sturdy notebook or a binder with loose leaf paper inside. Find a hard-bound notebook for best results, as the pages tear out of spiral-bound notebooks too easily. Do not keep your log on a laptop computer, as you need something that will not be destroyed if you accidentally spill chemicals on it.
Write your name and contact details on the inside cover. Organise your log book into sections as you conduct your experiment. Separate the sections using labelled tabs. Every entry should be headed with the date, starting with the earliest date at the front of the log book.
Place any project instructions, rules and regulations together in the first section of your log book. Follow this with a schedule of how you will conduct your experiment, such as the steps you will use, the times that each step will be completed and the project due date. Include a data section and a calendar in the front of the log book, on which you can mark experiment steps and milestones.
Include calculations, notes of meetings with your adviser or teacher, results of Internet or scientific journal searches, raw data, charts, graphs, sketches and ideas. Make sure your entries are complete enough so that you can understand them later, when the time comes to write up your experiment for your class assignment or science fair entry.
Glue or staple any loose items into your log book, such as graphs, photos or computer printouts. Do not place any loose papers into your log book, as these can fall out and get lost. Number all of the pages, including inserts, and make a table of contents or index, so you can find all of the information quickly and easily.
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