Starting your logbook
Often when you write something down an idea will pop into your mind. Keeping your ideas together in one place is a useful method of recording your progress through an investigation. For this you will need a logbook.
What is a logbook?
A logbook records the steps you take to complete a project. It does not need to be excessively neat. It is a record of what you did and what you were thinking. It should show how your thinking changes throughout the process of carrying out a research project. The logbook also records where things go wrong and what you did to overcome any unexpected results.
Starting your logbook
At this point start a logbook for your investigation by writing down any ideas you may have. There are selection of logbooks that you can download. You have a choice of the length of time that you are going to keep your logbook (7, 14, 21 or 28 days). You can also decide to print it off as a PDF file (recommended but large file size) or if you want to work online use the locked Word document (remember to save all the time or you will lose your information). You also have the choice of a logbook with and without a cover.
Start with today’s date and write down what you did on this date. Include any discussion you have had, any telephone conversations, letters you have written and the resources that you have found related to your project. If you take any photographs or audio recordings write down in your logbook where and when these were gathered.
You need to keep accurate records of your plans, what you do, how you do it and what you find out. You will use your logbook when you prepare your final report. You will also submit your logbook to show your teacher how you organised your research and how you made steady progress.
Here is a sample entry into a student logbook.
Figure 1: A drawing of what an entry in a student logbook would look like.
Include all the things that affect the progress of your project. This means all the things you do when you plan your project as well as summaries of conversations and reading, lists of equipment, drawings of models, names and descriptions of resources used, your results and thoughts you have along the way. Things that go wrong should also be written in the logbook and any false starts or dead ends that you encounter.
Your logbook is evidence that you have worked scientifically. It is also a record of the type of activities you carried out during your investigation. Your teacher may ask to see your logbook as part of your ongoing assessment.
Keep your logbook with you whenever you are working on your project.
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