Types of Lab Protocols, Ranked from Worst to Best

  1. That one protocol you’re sick of doing because it never works and why did I decide to enrol in grad school and I have no data to present at lab meeting tomorrow
  2. Errrr… I haven’t done it yet.
  3. Alternative protocol – ie. “we did it like this in my old lab” (Your supervisor will love this)
  4. Illegible protocol from previous student’s lab book (they have since left science to start a bakery)
  5. Protocol from memory
  6. Verbally Dictated – sketchy at best
  7. Make it up as you go along
  8. “Go look it up”
  9. A protocol that really shouldn’t work, but does.
  10. Post-It note based
  11. Verbally Dictated – detailed
  12. Hyper-organised protocol explicitly stating all reagents and kits with troubleshooting steps*

*pretty much one in a million

My solution is to go electronic. And always, always, ask if you’re unsure!