Writing a Lab Report
The lab report is an inseparable part of each laboratory course, as well as an important part of your academic grade. If your teacher or professor gives you strict instructions regarding how to write a lab report, you should follow them accordingly. Some teachers prefer to see lab reports included in a special laboratory notebook, whereas others may request a detailed and separate one.
We have prepared some information concerning essential parts of a lab report. You can use the information given below if you do not have the slightest idea on what you should start with and what steps you should follow. A lab report means that you should explain what you were doing while conducting your experiment, what you found out, what you observed, what conclusion you arrived at, and what the results you got. A standard format of a laboratory report is given below.
What is the structure of lab report?
- Title page
- The title of your experiment;
- Your name and last name. In case you have laboratory partners, do not forget to mention their names and last names as well;
- Your professor’s name and surname;
- The date when your lab was conducted, or the date when your lab report was submitted.
- Introduction. In the introduction section, you should explain the aim and objectives of your lab. Do not forget to mention a hypothesis, which you should either reject or accept. Sometimes, background information can be presented in the following part.
- Materials. You should indicate what materials you used in order to complete your experiment.
- Methods. You should describe all the steps you completed while conducting your experiment. Sometimes you can be asked to write a methodology part of your report. You should describe everything very precisely and accordingly. You should do this as though you were giving a stranger some directions or guidance on how to make a lab report. All types of charts, graphs, tables or diagrams could be very helpful, as well as supportive.
- Data or Statistics. All the data obtained during your experiment can be presented in a chart, graph, diagram or table. Data shows what you managed to record while conducting your experiment.
- Results. Writing a lab report cannot be considered complete if there is no Result section. You should describe in words what your data means. Sometimes the Discussion and Result sections can be combined.
- Discussion / Analysis. The Data section usually comprises numbers, whereas the Analysis one includes different calculations made based on those numbers. In the following section, the data is interpreted, a hypothesis is stated either to be accepted or rejected. You can indicate the exact places or steps when you made mistakes and suggest the ways how they could be avoided in future or how the research could have been improved.
- Conclusion. You should sum up what you managed to achieve in your experiment, whether a hypothesis was rejected or accepted and what this is supposed to mean.
- Graphs, charts, tables and figures. It is very difficult to imagine writing lab reports without any graphs, tables, charts, or figures. Each of them should be entitled and refer to in the text of your report as Table 1 or Figure 3, etc.
- References. If you cited or made references to other works, sources, or researches, then you should prepare your list of references.
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