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Writing a Laboratory Report

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A laboratory report is difficult to write as each professor has his own requirements and there are no standards for writing it. However, any laboratory report aims at documenting the findings and revealing their significance. This helped us create general lab report’s format and its basic components. Having these points in mind, you can apply them for a particular lab report.

What are the peculiarities of a lab report? If you want to create a good one, make sure that it shows your comprehension of the concepts and not simply present data. The main problems that students face is writing how and why certain differences occur – recording figures is not enough. Coherent and logical organization of ideas is obligatory because the correct format is not sufficient.

Laboratory report consists of: Title Page, Abstract, Introduction, Methods and Materials, Experimental Procedure, Results, Discussion, Conclusion, References, Appendices and Further Reading.

The Title Page should be informative with the name of the experiment and lab partners, and the date.

The Abstract is the summary of four aspects of the report: the purpose of the experiment, key findings, significance and major conclusions.

The Introduction is written in several sentences and highlights the objective of the experiment. It gives the reader information on the background to the experiment.

Methods and Materials are usually written in the form of a complete list.

Experimental Procedure shows all steps of the process in chronological order.

Results are necessary although they are dominated by calculations, tables and figures.

Discussion reveals whether you really understand the experiment. You have to explain, analyze and interpret as this part is often called a “subjective” part of the report.

Conclusion is short and stresses what is already known from the experiment.

References include lab manual and materials used.

Appendices: raw data, figures and calculations, tables that were not mentioned in the report itself.