Data Logbook

Project Data Books are required to be on display at project for judges!

In settings such as science and engineering fairs where space and permitted equipment/materials are limited, the project data book becomes one of the most vital aspects of a science and engineering project.  It becomes the lifeline between the actual experimentation and the results as indicated in the exhibit.  In most cases, it is the only verifiable aspect of project results for the judging team.

Here are a few tips for preparing your project data book.

  • Use a bound notebook in which pages cannot be removed; a loose-leaf or spiral notebook is not recommended.  Information must be hand-written.
  • Use https://www.mathsisfun.com/measure/ metric or I.S.units.
  • It is important that things are written down as they occur.  Write the results of your project immediately after every segment of the experiment.  Sign your name and the date for each insertion.
  • You may insert computer-generated graphs into your project book; however, you must initial over the edges to verify that it was entered on the date indicated.
  • Project data books can become rather messy and students are often tempted to type their notebooks into report form.  While it is a good idea to keep a computer backup of information, the project data book remains more important than a neatly typed copy.  With today’s technology, judges and others realize that it is very easy to falsely create computer files and date them retroactively.
  •  In many cases, it is advantageous to maintain two notebooks:  one as the working copy (your project data book), and the other as the formal copy (your computer backup copy) where information is categorized and presented in an organized manner.  Obviously, this creates additional work and students must pay attention to detail so that minute details are not overlooked as information is transcribed.  Students may present a typed version of their working notebook as long as the original working copy accompanies it.
  • Please remember that any materials prepared for the Capital Area Science and Engineering Fair may not include any identifying information, such as your name and school, to ensure fair judging.  No identifying information should be included in your project data book.

Below are two links for more information:

http://www.sciencebuddies.org/blog/2012/10/teaching-good-science-and-engineering-habits-keeping-a-lab-notebookphp.php

http://www.sciencebuddies.org/blog/2010/01/lab-notebooks.php

Did you know…?

Project data books are legally admissible evidence for cases of patent issuance and patent infringement.  The information contained in the project data book verifies the identity of the scientist or engineer, the originality of the material, and a time frame for when the work was completed.