When logging any key component into your engineering notebook, it isn’t enough to have detailed and relevant information.  The way in which you structure your logs is also very important.

1. Keep logs neat and clean

  • Information that is presented neatly will be perceived better by judges and anyone else who views your logbook.
  • Use straight edges and write in black pen to make logs look precise and purposeful.  This will make the information appear more organized and in turn will create a more comprehensive log.

2. Use relevant titles and headers

  • The use titles that state the overarching idea or topic the log is covering allows for easy organization.
  • This will keep judges from guessing what your logs are truly addressing and they won’t have to waste time flipping various pages.
  • If logs continue onto multiple pages, still label them with the same header but mark that they are continued for consistency and quick accessibility.

3. Always label the purpose of your log under its title.

  • The purpose of your log will act like a thesis statement and will keep your logs specific and on topic.  Logs should not go through numerous different tangents.  All subheadings should be relevant and should always relate to the purpose of the log much like a thesis would for a standard essay.
  • Listing the purpose of your log will also help filter logs by their importance/relevance.  If it is difficult for you to find the purpose of your log, you probably shouldn’t be writing it!  Never write with the sole purpose of filling pages, the product will always be subpar.  Quality over quantity!

4. Use graphics to portray information more efficiently.

  • Use pro/con charts to justify your choices as well  as communicate your thought process clearly and simply.
  • Pictures, sketches and CAD drawings can help to explain ideas more in depth.  By using images, you avoid large blocks of text that can often get clouded and not explain your idea fully.  Plus they’re easier on the eyes and make information more easy to process.
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