One of Isaac Newton's notebooks.
Diligent record keeping is a vital component of superior lab work. For hundreds of years, lab notebooks looked like like the example at right. (Other fine examples include: ; ; and http://www.flickr.com/photos/gruts/3143887984/)
Week 1 (2/6-2/12)
- What do you want to get out of 20.345?
- What areas of
Week 2 (2/13-2/19)
Week 3 (2/20-2/26)
Week 4 (2/27-3/4)
Week 5 (3/5-3/11)
Week 6 (3/12-3/18)
Week 7 (3/19-3/25)
- What is the most important thing you accomplished during the first week of your project?
- What three things do you plan to accomplish in the next week?
- What three things do you plan to accomplish in the next month?
Week 8 (3/26-4/1)
- Did you enjoy Spring Break?
Week 9 (4/2-4/8)
- What is the riskiest element of your project? What is your backup plan if that element fails?
- List two skills you will have to learn in order to complete your project.
- What companies make products related to your project? Whose products are the best?
Week 10 (4/9-4/15)
- List at least five resources that have helped you. Your list may include papers, documentation,, textbooks, videos, downloaded code, or people who are not members of the teaching staff.
- What was the most fun part of your project so far?
- What task are you procrastinating the most?
Week 11 (4/16-4/22)
- List at least three statistical techniques you plan to use.
- Generate simulated data sets and test these techniques.
- What was the part of the project that you originally didn't think was important, but now has become a major task?
Week 12 (4/23-4/29)
- Is there any part of your project that you now realize is not so important, and should have been skipped?
- What "unwritten knowledge" have you found out in the process of conducting your project (e.g., the kind of thing that never gets described in a book or paper, but you have to experience to understand)?
- Design a mathematical model, a simulation, or small pilot project, which takes no longer than 3 days, to reduce the risk of the remaining part of your project.
Week 13 (4/30-5/6)
- What is the biggest thing you would have done differently in your project, given what you've learned throughout your project so far?
- Instruments often require a biological demonstration to make their value clear. What would the most compelling demonstration of the power of your technology be? What will you do during the class period?
- Reflect upon your pilot project from the previous week: did you carry it out? Why or why not?
Week 14 (5/7-5/13)
- If you had twice the time to do the project, what would you differently? What about if you had half the time? How does this thinking change your actual plans?
- What have you noticed about your own mind, in the way that you create ideas, implement ideas, and test ideas? Consider both cognitive and emotional variables.
- What was the most important resource you now use, that you did not know about at the beginning of the term? How can you find more resources, more rapidly, in the future?
Week 15 (5/14-5/17)
- What have you learned about working with others? Are there proactive or responsive things you should do differently, to maximize work with others?
- If you had twice the resources to do the project, what would you differently? What about if you had half the resources? How does this thinking change your actual plans?
- Based upon your reflections of the previous week: are there things you can practice, to make you more efficient at creating, implementing, and testing ideas?