Basic science: understanding experiments
Basic science: understanding experiments

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

1.1 Keeping a study journal

Download this video clip.Video player: ou_futurelearn_experiments_vid_1011.mp4
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript|Hide transcript
 
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Keeping a study journal, lab notebook or field notebook is a vital skill for any scientist – beginners to the subject often underestimate their importance.

In the video, Janet Sumner and Hazel Rymer, Dean of Science at The Open University, discuss why your notes are so important. Download the activity booklet [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]  for this course, it includes everything you’ll need to make your personal notes on the experiments. If you would rather use your own journal, that’s fine – the type of record that you keep of your experiments is less important than the clarity and detail of your notes.

A good rule of thumb is that your notes should contain enough information that someone else could use them to duplicate your work, or that you could read through them years later and remind yourself of the exact procedures that you followed. It is always far better to have recorded too much information and not need it, than to not record enough and find that a vital piece of information is missing.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371