Your notebook is a record of your Physics lab work. These are notes to yourself, for you to use as a resource. You will be able to use your notebook for all quizzes in the lab. Notes you take will also be useful to help you with computer logon procedures, assignments and other lab related work. You can place any material, that you feel will be of value, into your notebook except work from another or previous Physics lab.
In addition to providing notes for your own use, the notebook forms a record of work done. In essence the notebook provides evidence to findings determined in the lab. This is different than theory where memory is sufficient to recite the work that was done. In experimental work, simply being able to recall some value from memory (such as the date when an experiment was done or the number of a sample used) is insufficient without supporting evidence in your notebook.
Third function of your notebook is as foundation for reporting. Reporting, such as publishing or presenting a paper, is built from the material in your notebook. The notebook itself is not presented as the report but rather a report is derived from the notebook notes.
When keeping a notebook, it is best to record work in sections with well-defined headings. This is to help find and understand the recorded information more easily. Make the section headings relevant to you. Includes notes to yourself to remind you of what was done.
Some traditional sections are objective, data, results, conclusion. Other sections might become even more useful such as "how to log onto the computers" or "assignment for next period" or "lab lecture notes". The important concept here is to section your work out and use headings that will be useful to yourself.
For possession of the notebook (or where the notebook is kept), there are two distinctly different approaches. In university research, often the notebook is kept by the researcher. In corporate or industrial research, often the notebook is the property of the company and may be required to be kept in the lab at all times.
Return of Notebooks
Your lab notebook is not returned to you at the end of the semester. It forms part of your lab record. You may request the return of your notebook after one year by submitting a request in writing to the Physics Department. In the request include your name, student number, semester in which the lab was taken and reason for the request. All lab notebooks are destroyed after two years from the date of the lab course.