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The Honor Code & Laboratory Work in Chemistry

The Honor Code, described in the General Judiciary Handbook, defines the rules governing independent work, acknowledgment of sources, and collaboration on assignments. The Chemistry Department has prepared this set of guidelines to clarify the relationship between the Honor Code and work in the laboratory portion of Chemistry courses. All students are expected to adhere to the following rules unless their instructor gives them other guidelines.

E-laboratory notebooks, like all other written or electronic work, must give proper credit for any information that is not the original work of the writer. Frequently this can be done by giving the source of the procedure used, e.g. a reference to the procedure in the text or lab instructions. Data entered in the notebook are assumed to be taken by the writer unless specifically marked to the contrary. If students are working in groups of two or more, a statement indicating who the partners are is necessary. It may frequently be desirable to indicate which partner took which part of the data, e.g. "a sample of acid was weighed by Penelope and original weights were recorded in her notebook. I did the first titration and read the burette." Under no circumstances is another student's notebook an appropriate source of information.

Each individual must do calculations and write-ups of results, even when a group performed the experiment, unless otherwise specified by the instructor. Consultation and discussion with other members of one's laboratory section is encouraged; you may also consult with other students taking the same course or anyone you think can help you learn. However any work submitted for grading must have been completed by the student submitting it, and proper acknowledgment of "sources of information, ideas, opinions, or theories not the student's own must be indicated clearly" [from the Wellesley College General Judiciary Handbook]. This includes such things as chemical equations, numerical calculations, interpretive statements and computer programs not written by the student.

The use of e-laboratory notebooks or e-lab reports of students who have completed a given experiment is not allowed prior to the writing of an individual's own report. After a student has completed an experiment, written it up and had it graded, she should feel free, unless instructed otherwise, to refer to another student's notebook to see a different perspective on the experiment or as an aid to understanding how a well-written report is designed. It is important to recognize that both parties (borrower and lender) violate the Honor Code when they fail to observe these guidelines.

The only experiments that are allowed outside of lab time are melting points, Mass Spectra, FTIR analyses, and NMR analyses. You may do these experiments only Monday-Friday between 8 AM and 5 PM. You must have another person with you when doing these experiments. If a lab is running, please get the permission of the instructor in charge before doing any experiments.