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[MEDIA] How to keep a lab notebook


from March 23, 2020 to April 20, 2020

Published in Science Magazine

By Elisabeth Pain (Science Magazine)

How to keep a lab notebook

Where did I put that piece of paper? When did I do that experiment? Where did I save that data file? If you frequently find yourself searching for a critical piece of information you jotted down as you performed your experiment, trying to remember when you did what, or scouring your hard drive to find the right file, it may be time to revisit how you keep your research notes. Whether you’re working at the bench, in the field, or in theory, you need to keep track of what you do so that you—and others—can refer back to it whenever necessary.

There are multiple tools available beyond the traditional paper notebook to help scientists document their work and progress, but how to keep a good notebook is rarely taught. Many research institutions, funding bodies, and professional associations have requirements or offer guidelines. But apart from making sure that you are not breaking any rules, oftentimes there is space for creativity and personal preference—provided the notetaking is effective. Science Careers asked researchers from a range of disciplines and career stages to share the tips and strategies that work for them. Their responses have been edited for clarity and brevity [Read more].

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