Guidelines on Laboratory Notebook Grading

The key to a good notebook is that somebody else can learn exactly what you did and how you did it. It is not just your record, but it is the record for your colleagues. We will expect you to keep a notebook as if you were a professional engineer.  In your subsequent career, the lab notebook will be important part of the intellectual property of your employer and could become critical evidence in a patent dispute. So remember that what you record must be easily understood by a person unfamiliar with your work many years later.


Organization: 20 %

Table of contents, page numbers and dates

Legible handwriting

Pen, not pencil

No removed pages

To cross out: thin line, not blacked out, no white out

Descriptions: 25 %

Experimental goals

Detailed experimental protocols

Full justification of experimental details

Details of experimental equipment and methodologies

Drawings of any setups


Results: 20 %

Qualitative observations and/or quantitative data

File name locations & descriptions or photocopies

Explain calculations and equations used

All mistakes, problems, and lapses of data explained


Data Analysis: 20%

Interpretation/hypothesis of data

We want you to think about what you learned.


5 % neatness + 5 % completeness + 5 % clarity of communication = 15 % total

Adding colored figures, highlighting important points…etc.

Again, the main thing is that someone else can take your lab book and reproduce exactly what you did to get your results.