Writing a lab report can seem like a daunting task. It might seem like it could possibly take even longer than the lab procedures themselves. This is especially true if you don’t know what you’re doing and you’re wondering how can I write my lab report? However, it’s much easier than you think. You just have to know the basics.
Lab reports are pretty basic; they are part of any course that involves laboratory work and will typically contribute a large percentage to your grade. If you get an outline for writing a lab report from your instructor, then use that outline to prepare your lab report. Some instructors will simply ask you to use your lab notebook to write the report. However, there are those who will go so far as to request a whole report in a separate document. While you could get a lab report writing service to help you out, you will find that it’s actually easy to do it yourself.
While there might be specific requirements by each instructor, the general format for a lab report is fairly consistent across the board. We’re going to look at that general format so you can use it as the basis of your lab reports. Next time you’re writing a lab report, you’ll realize just how easy it is.
Lab Report Format
The Title Page
It should be pointed out here that you won’t need a title page for every lab report format. However, in the event that your instructor asks you to include a title page as part of your lab report, you will simply put aside a full page to record the following things:
- The title of your experiment
- Your name and those of any partners you carried out the experiment with
- The name of your instructor
- The date on which the experiment was carried out or the submission date of the report.
The Title of the Report
This pretty much a statement of what you did. You should go for a brief title that does not exceed ten words. You title should also be very concise in that it should describe the main aim of your investigation or experiment. For example, you can use the title “Effects of Infrared Light on Halogen Crystal Growth Rates”. If you can use the keyword of the title to begin the title, then do so and avoid using such articles as “A” and “The.
The Introduction and Statement of Purpose
Part of knowing how to write a lab report is knowing how to write a good statement of purpose. Typically, you will fit your introduction into a single paragraph. That paragraph will explain the purpose or objectives of your lab investigation. In a single sentence, you should state the hypothesis of the investigations. Sometimes, you may want to include some background information in your introduction. That is where you summarize in a brief manner such details as the manner in which the experiment was carried out, the findings of the experiment, and a list of conclusions that you arrived at as a result of the experiment.
Even if you don’t write a very long introduction, you need to state the purpose of your investigation, at the very least. The purpose is a statement of why you performed the investigation or experiment. It is in that purpose that you would typically state your hypothesis.
In this section, you write down an exhaustive list of all of the tools and implements you will need to carry out your lab investigation.
Here you describe the steps you took during your experiment. It is your procedure. You should include sufficient detail so that anyone who reads about your methods won’t find it unduly difficult or impossible to replicate your experiment and get the same results. You should write your methods as if you were writing a kind of recipe for someone else. It should be such that, if the person were to follow your recipe to the letter, they would get the exact same results as you. It would even be more helpful if you included a diagram of your setup for the experiment to aid understanding.
You will typically represent all the numerical data that was part of your investigation in the form of a table. Basically, data is anything you recorded during the experiment. It’s objective and factual and has nothing to do with your interpretation of the facts.
This is where you describe what the data means. You can sometimes combine this section with the Analysis section.
The Analysis and Discussion
Whereas the data section will contain figures, this section will contain calculations. You interpret your data in this section and figure out whether your hypothesis is acceptable or not. It is also the place where you discuss possible mistakes you may have made in the course of the investigation. You can also discuss ways to improve your investigation.
Here you will typically write a one-paragraph summary of the events of the experiment or investigation. You also indicate whether your hypothesis was accepted or not, as well as what that could possibly mean.
The Figures and Graphs
You should label these with a title. The axes should also be labeled with the units of measurement. Your independent variable will be on the horizontal or x-axis while your dependent variable will be on your vertical or y-axis. You can refer to the graphs and figures in your report with references like ‘Figure 1’, ‘Figure 2’, and so on.
If you have borrowed some things in your research from anyone, such as procedures or facts, be sure to list them in the references section.