How to write a lab report

How to write a lab report

You are stuck. Not that kind of stuck in a traffic jam or having your foot in between crevices.  You have been given by your instructor an assignment on something about lab reports. The bad thing is you can’t figure out how to write a lab report.

The questions running through your mind might be:

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  • how to write a lab report
  • how to write an abstract for a lab report
  • how to write a lab report for biology
  • how to write a conclusion for a lab report
  • how to write a lab report abstract
  • Are lab reports the same as scientific reports?
  • what is a lab report?
  • how and where do I get a lab report example for reference?
  • what is the lab report format?

What is a lab report?

A lab report is a description and analysis of an experiment that explores a scientific concept.

A lab report is typically assigned to help you:

  • Test your hypothesis using statistics
  • Use theoretical explanations to explore your scientific findings
  • Evaluate research objectively and methodically
  • Provide relevant and potential interpretations for your findings
  • Open up avenues for others to investigate your hypothesis under different circumstances
  • Formulate a hypothesis about a particular stimulus, event, and behavior

The main objective of a lab report is to document the results of a scientific experiment and communicate the findings in a scientific way. Just like any other scientific report it has to be evidence-based, elaborate its aim, neat, orderly, organized, and true.

LAB REPORT FORMAT

For a lab report to be credible it should be presented in a structured manner. A lab report format shapes the writing procedure of the lab report, making it clear and precise. It is not about presenting the results. Apart from capturing the readers’ attention, a good lab report format makes it objective and methodical.

Sections of a lab report

How to write a lab report question is answered best with a well-structured format. Sections that make up a lab report include:

  • TITTLE
  • INTRODUCTION
  • PROCEDURE
  • RESULTS
  • DISCUSSION
  • CONCLUSION

The above-stated lab report sections are important but a lab report format is not complete without the title page, abstract, references, and appendices. You are advised to use a double-line spacing of text, font size 12, and include page numbers.

Title

Just like this title “How to write a lab report”. The title should be able to captivate a reader. One look from far and any reader is interested to know what entails your lab report. If your science experiment’s objective is to identify refraction indexes of different materials using a medium like air, the title should be like “Identifying materials’ reflective indexes using air as a medium”. Your title should be precise and short utmost 7 words. The title is usually derived from the objective.

Abstract

This is how to write an abstract for a lab report. This section is usually a comprehensive summary of what entails your lab report. Entails a brief explanation of the introduction, procedure, results, discussion, and conclusion sections. An abstract contains 100-200 words.

Introduction

  1. Objective and Specific objectives – State the aim of you doing the experiment. For example, “It is possible to measure the reflection indexes of different materials using air as a medium”. If there are any additional purposes you should list them under specific objectives.
  2. Literature Review- There have been other experiments related or associated with what you are doing. Include a summary of information of the earlier work with proper references in this section. The reader will also be interested in the summary of the theoretical information framework available.
  3. Mathematical equations- To support the principles and laws of the experiment you are doing add this equation to help support your theoretical information base.

Procedure

In this section, you first list all the apparatus and equipment that will be used in the experimental procedure. For the apparatus give their level of accuracy to help standardize your results. From your standard ruler, voltmeter, vernier calipers, and the micrometer screw gauge. If you are using the micrometer screw gauge you can say it’s accurate to an mm.

Later list the steps you going to follow to do your experiment to the later. It’s advisable to put the steps in number form.

Results

  • Depending on the units you are measuring, this section is where you record the results. Remember to adhere to the universal standard measuring units.
  • Record your results in tables showing your units of measurements.
  • To help analyze your results plot graphs. These should be neat, clean, easy to read, interpret and include well-defined x and y-axis labels. Provide the title for the graph, a scale, and a key. The axis should be labeled according to the variables been measured and their units also stated in brackets.
  • All computations should be shown. Calculate all the required variables from the graphs. This usually includes average, slope, variance, and standard deviations.

Discussions

  • In this section, you analyze and interpret the results from the calculations section. Usually include comparing results from the experiment variables. For example, if you doing an experiment on refraction indexes of different materials.
  • You will arrange the refractive indexes in ascending or descending order and compare the materials with the highest and lowest refractive indexes.
  • Provide reasons, clarifications, arguments about the refractive indexes using the experimental results supporting it with theoretical knowledge. Make factual statements about graphs and charts.

Conclusion

  • This is how to write a conclusion for a lab report.
  • In this part, state if having achieved your objectives. If not state the reasons for the difference between the experimental results and model theory.
  • Give the sources of errors and offer logical inferences.
  • Suggest recommendations.

References:

This section includes all the sources; books, internet sites, articles, and the journals that were cited. This section is written using the APA style. Every time you refer to a name, a date, or a knowledge source you need to reference the source of the information. The references should always be in alphabetical order.

 General tips on how to write a lab report

Your report should present data and outcomes in a persuasive manner. With these five tips, you can write a lab report which is sure to reel in the reader. This will always leave the reader yearning for more and wanting to make him/her read further.

  1. You should always and always write your lab report in the third person. Do not make mistakes most people do, writing using the first person.
  2. Not every reader is versed with the details of the subject you are writing about in your lab report. If you using abbreviations or acronyms, specify their meanings in the appendices section.
  3. In your conclusion provide recommendations to the reader. In case there was a challenge that made you not achieve your expected results put it down so that reader may not repeat the same mistake. Also, if there was a challenge you managed to solve note it down too.
  4. Assume the reader has not familiar with your work. When it comes to explaining the equipment, apparatus, and procedure be clear and simple as possible.
  5. If you haven’t met your objectives state them in the conclusion section and state clear reasons why.
  6. Provide accurate results from your experimental tests. Do not manipulate results as they famously say “cooking results”. You better report the result as accidental. At least this will not affect future results if your work is used as a reference for another research in the future.
  7. Compare your results with other researches done on the same topic. This will help the reader a bigger picture of why you did your lab experiment.

CONCLUSION

We hope these tips on how to write a lab report will help you write an excellent and high-grade scoring lab report whether you are in high school or college.

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