Lab Notebooks

Maintaining a Proper Scientific Laboratory Notebook


  • Megan Cole Emory University


This POGIL learning cycle activity is designed for undergraduate introductory biology students. Maintaining a proper lab notebook is a critical skill for students in laboratory courses or mentored research experiences. This activity introduces students to the components of a basic lab notebook entry; title, names, dates, purpose, methods, results and conclusions. Students first explore the sections of an example lab notebook, learning about what content belongs in each, when they are written, and proper formatting. Next, students further explore the level of detail needed for methods sections as this is often challenging for beginning researchers. Finally, students write their own methods section and, working with another group, assess whether it has enough detail for the experiment to be accurately replicated.

Level: Undergraduate
Setting: Laboratory
Type: Learning Cycle
Discipline: Biology
Course: Introductory Biology
Keywords: scientific communication

ToC Image: A Lab Notebook with a Question Mark




How to Cite

Cole, M. (2024). Lab Notebooks: Maintaining a Proper Scientific Laboratory Notebook. POGIL Activity Clearinghouse, 4(2). Retrieved from



Activities for Review