How to Write a Lab Report

How to Write a Lab Report

It is a requirement when you are undertaking any science course. You will be expected to write what took place during the experiment, what you learnt, and explaining the importance of the findings. The length and structure of lab reports may vary. Always consult your professor before doing the work. Lab reports comprise about 25% of your grade at the end of your course. Therefore, it is vital for students to acquire skills needed to write this type of assignment. The instructor always expect the learners to submit unique work.

A lab report has the following elements:

•   Raw data.

•   Hypothesis.

•   Materials used.

The students should display their knowledge about various concepts of their experiments. You must establish reasons for variances in your results and why it happened. Explain how the variations in your experiment influenced the final results. Even if you have an excellent format of the content, you must have a proper organization of your points.

Insights of Writing a Perfect Lab Report

•   Avoid the use of first-person pronouns.

•   Give a full background of the topic to enable all readers to understand its concepts.

•   The results and discussion section should constitute the highest percentage of your lab report.

•   Avoid repetition of information in your results.

•   Planning. Take adequate time to make plans for the report as this will help you to get desired results at the end of your experiment. Failure to plan for the work will lead to poor grades. Ensure that you have vast knowledge about the subject area. If you have some ideas about an experiment, find out whether someone else had done the work before. There is no need for you to carry out a study that has already been documented.

As you read the existing literature, find out whether there are any gaps in knowledge and purpose to provide new ideas. Take time to set the experiments as failure to do this will lead to inaccurate findings.                                                                                                                        

•   Take detailed notes. It will help you to write your lab report logically and with ease. Carry a notebook to the lab to ensure that you note down all details of the experiment. It is advisable to make notes as you do the experiment as you will remember everything that transpired. Write down important points using an ink pen instead of a pencil as you may erase your observations by mistake if you use the latter. Ensure that your notes are legible as you will need them to write the lab report. A friend may also borrow your book.

•   Make good use of tables and graphs in your work. Avoid them unless you find them necessary to support your findings. If you choose to include tables and graphs, number and give a title for each of the diagrams. The diagrams must also display the appropriate units of measurements and in the correct order.

•   Be concise in your report. Avoid writing too many words to fill your working space. The assignment should not be written like a descriptive narrative. However, ensure that all your information is accurate. Use simple language as much as you can as some of the readers are not conversant with complex scientific terms. Only details that are relevant to the lab report should be included in your assignment.

•   Learn from others. Lots of people have written lab reports in the past. Before writing your work, make sure you review some of the existing work as you may get some insights.

How to Write an Appealing Introduction to a Lab Report

It is an essential part of your assignment. You should take time to ensure that the content of this section will grab the attention of your readers. A good introduction will encourage your audience to readers to read the other parts of your work. Start with a broad topic for your work and narrow it down as you continue writing. Explain why there was a need to investigate the subject matter. Include a literature review in your introduction to highlight some of the work that has been completed before in your area of study.

Provide a summary of your work in this section of your paper. Always avoid plagiarism by ensuring proper citation of all the materials you used in the research. Explain to the readers the primary purpose of your study and outline the research questions.

The General Structure of a Lab Report

You will realize that several formats are used in writing this kind of an assignment. Different lab reports may also vary in terms of their length. The following is the basic structure:

•   Title.

It is the main aim of the study and includes independent and dependent variables. It should not be framed as a question. It should be as brief as possible.

•   Abstract.

It is a summary of the whole assignment. It is written after all the other sections of the lab report are ready. The abstract may not be included in short assignments.

•   Introduction.

The student is expected to provide a background of the study in this section. The introduction also comprises a summary of theories that have already been documented about the topic. State your research problem and the hypothesis if any. The reader would also want to know the objectives of your study.

•   Method.

Disclose all the materials, equipment, and procedures that you used in different processes. You can write this section of your lab report using flow charts to illustrate your work. Include information about how you processed your data.

•   Results.

The student should present the results of the study using tools such as tables. Explain how you analyzed the results of your experiment.

•   Discussion.

One is required to interpret their findings in relation to the objectives of the study. You should also provide insights for further research and make recommendations about the topic.

•   Conclusion.

In this section, remind the reader about the research problem. Provide a summary of the findings.

•   References.

It is a list of all the sources of information that has been cited in a lab report. Referencing your work helps to avoid plagiarism. Referencing is done using several formats including MLA and APA.

•   Appendices.

It contains sources that were not included in the main body of your lab report. 

Published on: 22 Mar 2019

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