Laboratory Investigations in Microbiology

Course Home | Lab Manual Home

Chapter 35: Keeping a laboratory notebook

Keeping meticulous and well-organized notes for the laboratory work being conducted is one of the cornerstones of scientific research. You would be amazed how easily and quickly even the simplest things are forgotten. I will therefore require each student to maintain a laboratory notebook. I strongly recommend using a 3 ring binder.

Organization of your notebook

Each chapter of the lab manual describes a unique set of exercises and experiments. I recommend that you divide your notebook into sections by chapter. If you print out the chapter ahead of time, place the printout at the beginning of the section. Add to this any handouts, written notes, observations, data sheets, and finally answers to discussion questions. Finally, mark each section clearly (i.e. with dividers or tabs).

Grading of your notebook

I will collect lab notebooks periodically (unannounced or announced), so keep your lab notebook up-to-date! Your lab notebook will be worth 50 points, based on:


All lab sheets are in order and neatly filed in a 3 ring binder. For the final notebook collection, be sure to have chapters 30 - 33 (graded skills test, practicum, unknown, lab report) in a separate section at the end of your notebook.


Data complete:

All your observations, and those of other lab groups (if indicated on the data sheets or instructions), as well as graphs & tables if required and demonstration exercise data, must be present. Blank data tables or missing data will mean deduction of points each time.


Data accurate:

Your data/observations should reflect the correctly recorded raw data. If data was erroneous, this should also be indicated.


Review questions completed:

All review questions should be answered. Partly answering a question or leaving questions blank will result in a deduction


Review questions correct:

Occasionally some incorrect answers are allowed for, but incorrectly answering questions will often result in deductions.

© 2003 - 2017 Josť de Ondarza, Ph.D.