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Homework Help: When should a Laboratory Log book be written?

  1. Nov 6, 2011 #1
    Firstly, please excuse me if this post is in the wrong section, I couldn't find any "experimental" physics section. Please note that the template is not used since the questions is pretty much descriptive.

    As part my course, I have one lab session per week. Its duration is one and half our and the experiments are usually done in teams of 3.

    We are all required to write log books which will be attested one in the next lab session (one week time). However we are marked on how neat the log book is also on "professional presentation".

    Now I'm confused; after some research I've found out that a log book should be everything that you do. However during an experiment done in limited time, there is no time to be neat and its impossible to show professionalism with excel graphs and 3D models of equipment; main reason being that computers cannot be used in the lab environment.

    Therefore my question is that should a log book be written at the same time the experiment is in process or should the data be recorded otherwise (say voice recording) and then entered to the log book in the same way that a lab report is written?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 6, 2011 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    Log book should be written as you go.

    You can finesse the neatness by anticipating some of the things you will need to record.
    Your format will be either a list, a table, or a graph, depending on what you have to write. They are trying to force you into good habits.

    "professionalism" will be about not using whiteout, noting mistakes and correcting them, that sort of thing - rather than computer printouts. Tidyness is all about legibility - don't scribble. Sometimes you will have a hardcopy to paste in. When you are taking data for a graph, you should be plotting it as you go - especially if you need to locate turning points or intercepts - then you'll know when you need more fine-grained readings.

    When there's three of you - one can be the data-taker (take turns) and the other two copy. (If you do this - indicate it in your log: goes to professionalism.) Similarly if you divide a multi-part experiment between you to do it faster.

    You'll get the hang of it.
  4. Nov 6, 2011 #3
    Dear Simon,

    Thank you for the reply, i'll make sure I attempt to undertake some of your tips tomorrow in my lab session.

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