Lab Notebook Guidelines

The following are guidelines describing how to keep a proper lab notebook for my physics courses. When done properly, it will be a record of all the information needed to successfully complete an experiment, whether it is a "plug and chug" lab or a full lab report. Since you are students, I've included sections to help you organize your thoughts (e.g. "Prelab Notes") that might not appear in a real research notebook. Keeping a notebook represents very little additional work since it is mostly comprised of things that you should be doing anyway before handing in a lab (e.g. like NOT giving me the first version of your calculations).
What follows below are the printed criteria from my syllabus. Then, there are a few INTERACTIVE sample notebook pages, including one that amounts to a rant about things I shouldn't see.
Purpose: 

To provide a formal, organized work space/log in which one can record data and work through the calculations of an experiment. It will help you organize your thoughts and retain useful information. 

General: 

The pages should be fastened securely, so the laboratory notebook should not be spiralbound or perforated. A stringbound composition notebook is a good example of an acceptable notebook. 


For each experiment:

Title 
Title, Date, Lab Partners, etc. 
Lecture Notes 
Record any diagrams, mathematical derivations and procedural notes given by the instructor. The purpose of the experiment should be prominently displayed first. Everything mentioned in the prelab discussion should be here. 
Data/Calculations 

Remember: Data is taken directly into the lab notebook. Your first attempts at calculations are also written there. You don't have to write everything twice, but make sure your calculations are correct in the notebook before attempting to fill in the lab report. If you are observed not using your lab notebook, a penalty of 10 points off your lab grade will result! 
Interactive Sample Pages 
Page 22 (Start
Here) 