Lab Report - Writing Tips and Information

Lab report is an important part of laboratory programs and generally an essential part of your education. Most of the students have to write it in college or university. Students usually think that writing laboratory reports is just wasting of time. But that’s wrong. The goal of such work is to learn how to work with data sources, how to perform different experiments and how to analyze and structure material. Writing it will definitely help you in your future life. Most of the students don’t understand this but it’s the truth. The world in 21st century is full of different information and such analytical skills will definitely be beneficial. That’s why this task is important.

Where to search for information?

Most of the information for getting prepared can be found in your books. Lab report is about performing an experiment, getting the result, describing and writing the conclusions. Unlike Term Paper it’s more practical task than theoretical. That’s why you will hardly need a lot of different sources of information, books and other publications. But sometimes you will need extra info. You can find some extra information in libraries but in most cases you will not have to visit them.

WRITING GUIDELINES

Different teachers may have different writing requirements. If your teacher offers you an outline about the methods on how to write it, use that. Certain instructors needs the laboratory report be included in a lab note book and some may ask a separate paper. Just get a guideline with tips if you do not know what to write or require an explanation of what to add in the various parts of the paper. It is how you detail what you performed in the experiment, what you studied and what the outcome meant. Know the standard format and if you like you can also print and fill in the template.

Pay strong attention to teacher’s guidelines. If your teacher offers you to use guidelines and provides you with special instructions, don’t ignore them. Different teachers have different requirements and you must follow the requirements of your professor in order to avoid difficulties and get the maximum result. If your professor gives you guidelines that differ from what’s written below, use the guidelines. The tips below are written to help you to write but they are not your 100% instructions.

Title Page

You should know that NOT all the reports contain title pages, but if the instructor needs one, it will be one page state mention, the title of the experiment you have done, name and names of the partners, instructors name and the date or the date of the paper was given. The title tells what you performed. It must be brief and show the key point of the experiment or investigation. Start the title by availing a keyword.

The title itself should be short, 10 words maximum. It must tell the reader about the content. Goal of the title is not to catch fancy of reader; it must reflect the content of the paper. A perfect title contains keywords and is straightforward.

The Abstract

Sometimes you may need to write an Abstract – quick summary of the essential aspects of your experiment and lab report. It must include purpose of the experiment, results you have reached and conclusions. You may also include brief description of the methods used and small piece of theoretical materials.

The Abstract is usually short: about 300 words in total. Don’t try to write more because your teacher will most likely ask you to rewrite and shorten it. Don’t forget that it’s only the summary.

Introduction

Normally the introduction is one paragraph that details the purpose or objectives. In single sentence, mention the hypothesis. Certain times an introduction may have background, details, briefly explain how the experiment was done, mention the findings of the experiment and write down the conclusions of the investigation.

If you do not mention a full introduction, you want to mention the objectives of experiment or why you performed the experiment. This would be in the place where you mentioned about your hypothesis. The introduction states the issue being studied and the appropriate theory. Perfectly it would be about four to five sentences. The key idea is to offer the reader a notion of what you are planning to perform in short. There are various styles to perform this. You must try to write it in the own words before quoting the manual. It is good to read the whole experiment in the manual prior you start the introduction. It should include background sentences, goal and other theory.

A good introduction may contain different formulas that may help reader to understand the material and brief description of background theory. This part may also include description of the equipment used during the experiment.

Pay attention to using different tenses while writing. Always use past tense when you write about the experiment. It is already finished and that’s why past tense is the best. But the report itself, instruments and equipment still exist and that’s why you should use present tense for describing conclusions.

Materials

This section contains a list of all required materials and equipment for finishing the experiment. List all the equipment and reagents you have used. This section is usually short and contains only list of equipment without deep description.

Explain in Detail

This is the largest part of the paper. You must list all the needed materials to finish your experiment properly. Explain the steps you finished at the time of your investigation. This is the right procedure.

Be adequate detail information that instructor could read the section and copy the experiment. If you get any direction from anyone, write it. It may be useful to offer a number to diagram the experimental setup. Numerical data received from the procedure generally is given as a table.

Data includes what you recorded when you done the experiment, it is simply the facts, not any explanation of what they show. Explain in words what the data refers, certain times the results part is mixed with the discussion. The data part has numbers. The analysis part has the calculations you done based on the numbers. Here you interpret the data and check whether or not a theory was approved. This is where you would talk about the mistakes you might contain when doing the investigation.

Flow Chart

You may like to explain the methods the study might have been developed. In procedural flow chart must take one page. It must offer a reader an instant idea of what is required to be performed. It provides the reader a pictorial representation of the procedure. In common, there are two steps when making the flow chart. First read the procedure, secondly rewrite the procedure in a flowchart design. Remember that the chart must be brief and include the steps in an easy and simple manner to follow. Record data directly, in to the lab report. Along with writing the numbers you must be careful on what is really occurring in the experiment.

If you include one thing to another like gas gets cold or hot, changes odor or color, you must write down the results. The type of the equipment, concentrations of the standards you availed etc. It is best to note down all the formulas you avail in the calculations. You can also make the calculation availing simply units and no numbers and check whether the units cancel out to check whether the method is good.

Discussion or Analysis

You have completed the experiment and finned the tables with data. Now it’s time to calculate and interpret received information. This section may also contain the discussion about the mistakes you might have made. It’s possible to include the ways to improve the experiment to make it better.

Conclusion

Mostly the conclusion is one paragraph that summarizes what takes place in the experiment whether the theory was approved or rejected and what this refers. It must be short and contain only facts that you have discovered during the research process. It can be very short and contain only one sentence. If the experiment was finished but more research is required, the conclusion may contain recommendations on future researches and tips on how to hold future experiments.

The reason you get a conclusion is because the lab report might be lengthy and the reader may not able to remember all the points that you mentioned. It also offers an option to explain all that might have went wrong as the planned future experiments. Such as the introduction, the conclusion should be short and relevant. Mention what you did, what you found and what you think. Repeat the procedure briefly; restate the outcome that you may have measured. What do the outcomes mean? Are the results good, bad, why and why not? Fundamentally, give detail about the results. If the experimental mistake is small or big when compared to the common mistake and explain on what this refer too.

References

If the research was based on the somebody’s work, or if you name facts that need documentation, you must list the references. You must also add any outside sources of information you used while writing and getting prepared for the experiment.

Appendices

This part usually contains different data in the form of tables, graphs, pictures. Figures and graphs should both be mentioned with a descriptive title. Label the axes being definite to add units of measurement. The free variable is on the x axis. The dependent variable is on the y axis. Make certain to show to graphs and figures in the text.

Each graph, table or picture must be in separate appendix. Don’t forget to refer to each appendix from the text of the report at least once. If you don’t use the data from appendix, then you shouldn’t keep it.

Writing a Lab Report is not a very difficult task. You just need to get prepared for the experiment, find theoretical materials, finish the experiment, describe it and describe your conclusions. But some students may have difficulties anyway. One of possible solutions is to find someone who will write the text for you. There are special writing services and you will get perfect paper as a result. We don’t recommend to use such services very often but they can help you if you are in trouble because of some reason.

To summarize, a lab report is simply such as writing an essay, you want to select a topic to write about, if the instructor has not provided you a topic. Keep in mind in both the ways you want to get more information and make more research to write a full paper. Organize the information properly, take important notes and write the text by introducing the topic, main details of the experiment and conclusion.