Ways to writing lab reports. What is a lab report? How do you write a good lab report? What are the 9 steps of a lab report? What are the 5 parts of a lab report?
Lab reports are written to describe and analyse a laboratory experiment that explores a scientific concept.
They are typically assigned to enable you to:
Remember that with lab reports it may be impossible to rely on a single explanation for your findings. Therefore, it is vital that you provide as many potential and relevant interpretations as possible.
Even if your findings do not support your hypothesis, they are still valuable because you can then demonstrate that within the contextual constraints of your study, your argument was not reliable, and you can then move on to consider other areas for research, without having to go down the same path.
Further, this may open up avenues for others to investigate your hypothesis under different conditions. Nevertheless, there may have been unforeseen circumstances or conditions that were not possible to isolate and control, which you can use to help justify your results.
Writing lab reports follows a straightforward and structured procedure. It is important to recognize that each part of a lab report is important, so take the time to complete each carefully. A lab report is broken down into eight sections: title, abstract, introduction, methods and materials, results, discussion, conclusion, and references.
Methods and Materials
The methods and materials section provides an overview of any equipment, apparatus, or other substances used in the experiment, as well as the steps taken during the experiment. If using any specific amounts of materials, make sure the amount is listed.
List the steps taken as they actually happened during the experiment, not as they were supposed to happen.
If your degree coursework has laboratory subjects then creating lab file forms an integral part of the same. Lab reports play a significant role in laboratory coursework and hence your grades. The purpose of a lab file is to identify the aim of your experiment, explain the procedure you followed, describe the observations, and conclude with the learnings and outcome. A scientific lab file is a combination of your theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge.
A well-written lab file not only records the expected and observed results but also identifies and provides the reasoning behind the observations and deviations. A lab file helps your instructor judge your understanding and comprehension of the concepts and principles on which the experiment is based on.
A lab file has to be accurate and follow certain set formats. Lab files can differ in length and contents based on the subject or experiment in question but the basic format followed in writing lab files is more or less similar. Before starting with the lab writing, plan the timelines for various sections of the report so that you can give the required time and attention to each part of the lab file.
Sections of a laboratory report:
A laboratory report usually have several sections identified by titles. A typical report would include such sections as title, introduction, procedure, results, and conclusion. Usinga a computer, type your work, remember that headings sections should be in boldface. The following above sections are discussed in deatail below:
The title page states the title of the experiment, the name of the people who conducted the experiment, the name of the lab instructor, and the date the experiment was performed. The first thing your reader will see is the title of the experiment.
An Abstract is an optional part of scientific writing and is usually not required for short experiments. The abstract should ideally be written at the end in experiment writing so that you can summarise the experiment content precisely.
The purpose of the introduction in experiment writing is to state the hypothesis, aim, and objectives of the experiment. The theories, previous research, and formulas relevant to the particular experiment are also discussed in this section.
Describing the steps that you followed while experimenting is an essential part of experimental lab writing.
In the section of lab writing you should also include the materials and equipment that were used in the experiment. Also include any specific precautions one has to take while experimenting, any difficulties faced, and how they were resolved.
The findings of the experiment are presented in this section of the scientific report. The results are usually presented in a tabular format as well as using graphs. The graphs and tables should be clearly labeled and properly referred to in the text of the lab file. If any calculations were involved in arriving at the result you can add the same here.
Interpretation of the results obtained is done in this section of the scientific report. You can identify and analyze any trends observed in the experimental data.
You can also give suggestions on how the experiment could be further improved to get more accurate results.
This section of lab file writing is intended to deliver the take-home message and sums up the outcomes and learnings of the experiment. Do not introduce any new ideas or findings in the conclusion.
Your lab account may include in-text citations as a part of the introduction where you have mentioned previous research and theories. You can follow the referencing style given in your lab manual or ask your instructor about which style to be followed.
You might have some information such as detailed calculations, tables, graphs, etc. that cannot be accommodated in the main lab file. In such cases, you can prepare appendices that are properly titled and given a number or letter. These appendices should be referred to by the number or letter in the relevant portion of the main lab files.
A lab manual is a text, document, or book that helps understand what needs to be done while in a laboratory. It prescribes everything from the procedures that need to be performed to the etiquette that needs to be followed.
Here are 5 tips to write a lab report introduction that impresses readers.