A lab manual is a document that provides clear guidelines to the users on how to use the equipment, hardware, software and about the various standard operating procedures to carry out their exploration and testing activities. The format of the lab manuals have evolved over the period of time but generally the include:-
- The objectives of the lab.
- The various types of theories that can be tested in the lab
- The apparatus, hardware and software available for the tests
- The safety procedures one should take while performing the steps
- The test procedures
- The expected results and the probable reasons for a failed test
Most of the time the labs and lab manuals are specific in nature. Every experiment focuses on achieving a certain objective and the lab manual must guide the user to achieve the results with the minimum margin for error. A lab manual sometimes also has provision to write down observations of a certain lab test. The lab manuals must be updated over the period of time to accommodate the latest practices , updates equipment and procedures for conducting the tests. Nowadays , with the inclusion of various types of computer simulation models , the lab testing has taken a hybrid shape. The experiments done in a lab today are both physical and computer simulated. The modern day lab manual must therefore include both the test procedures.