Keeping A Notebook

A project data book is your most treasured piece of work. Accurate and detailed notes make a logical and winning project. Good notes show consistency and thoroughness to the judges and will help you when writing your research paper.

Notebook Tips

  • Don’t remove any pages. Simply put a line through errors.
  • All pages should be numbered before any data is entered.
  • All entries should be dated.
  • Each new entry should begin on a separate page.
  • Use more than one notebook if necessary.
  • Don’t put rough drafts of the research paper in the notebook.
  • All entries should be legible so you can review them later.
  • If you create any digital assets while experimenting, keep a note of where they are stored.

Contents of the Notebook

Here is a list of things you could consider keeping notes of:

  • List of potential science fair projects.
  • Project title
  • Doodles
  • Experimental design
  • Identification of variables etc.
  • Data Tables (Raw and Summary Data)
  • Regular observations (similar to a diary)
  • Calculations
  • Graphs
  • More doodles
  • Reading notes from literature pertaining to the project, including references and citations.
  • Documentation: The proof that the experiment was completed.
  • Photograph when ever possible to illustrate the progress in various stages.
  • If scientific equipment is used (Spectrophotometer, HPLC, IR, NMR,) save all print outs in your notebook.
  • If the project is a continuation from past years you must have all your old notebooks.

The burden of proof that the project was completed is on you—the student. To avoid any questions as to the validity of your experiment you should do your own work and document everything.