Introduction: How to Keep a Scientific Journal
Science is very interesting. Simply put, it is the study of "stuff", through observation and exploration. Putting long hours into such activities is highly impractical, if not useless, unless they are well recorded for future generations. These instructions will tell you how to do that. Many of the following instructions may seem obvious, but a surprising amount of up-and-coming scientists do not go to the trouble to record their experiments. That said, enjoy this tutorial!
Step 1: What You'll Need
To keep a good scientific journal, you will need the following:
A Good Notebook (Obviously!)
A Good Pen or Pencil
A Format to Follow
A Prepared Mind
Step 2: Layout/Format
Depending on what type of experiment you are doing, your journal's format may vary. I chose a fairly basic format that was easily compatible with chemistry experiments. Don't write in your fanciest handwriting. Instead, use a basic, readable style. First, you should list your name and the current date. Second, you should list the title of your experiment. It shouldn't be vague, but it shouldn't be lengthy either. Next, you should list your control experiment's results under the heading, "Control". List information such as temperature, change in temperature, pressure, change in pressure, volume, change in volume, enthalpy (if applicable), and entropy (if that information is useful). Next, take note of any little things, such as whether or not the mixture bubbled, warmed up, or cooled down. The information you list is dependent on the type of experiment you are conducting. Next you should list all the same information for the next little experiment, making sure to take into account any changes that occur due to changes you made to its surroundings.. Be sure to only change one element of your experiment between the control and the experiments. Repeat this process for all the different little experiments done during this larger experiment. Make sure to record the information.
Step 3: Learning
Remember, science is not about sticking to one particular pattern/format/style, it is about learning. You'll be surprised how easy it is to forget something, unless it it written down. I hope you've learned something from this tutorial, but even if you haven't, I hope you've come to a better understanding of why recording information is important. Please comment to help me improve my instructables! Thanks!