how-write-lab-report

A lab report is a detailed outline of a certain experiment carried by a scholar or a student. Its purpose is to present the description and analysis of all steps and actions taken during the experiment, and data collection. A lab report consists of such steps as hypothesis formulation, creating lists of materials, writing a rough draft, etc. Lab report format depends on teacher’s/professor’s requirements.

From the first sight, you may find it really challenging to write a lab report, though with the tips prepared specifically for teaching you how to do a lab report effectively, you will find the process even enjoyable.

1. Pre-experiment stage of the lab report

  • Choosing a title. The name of your prospective experiment has to be descriptive, though brief.

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Note!

Sometimes the requirements state that you should write a title page. It consists of your experiment/lab title, name of a student performing the task, instructor’s name, and the date of the experiment.

  • Defining the issue. The main objective of any lab report is to find out the issue you want to resolve and introduce it to the readers. The problem, thus, has to be clearly formulated in your introduction with all background information.
  • Formulating hypothesis. A hypothesis is a theoretically predictable solution to an issue. Your task is to express what you believe the results of the experiments will be. A hypothesis itself is not a solution and it should not be supported with any evidence. Neither has it to be right. Your experiment is meant to support or not to support the hypothesis.
  • Making a list of what you needed for the experiment. The following step is to make up a short list of the things you used for your experiment.  If your experiment is successful, this list may help you to dig deeper and formulate even a theory; or your list may help your followers to verify the validity of the experiment’s results.

Note!

Sometimes instructors ask students to refer to the textbooks, in case the materials are found there. Thus, points on your list can be as follows: See page 34 in Biology Labs. Clarify this with your instructor before carrying out any experiment.

  • Procedures explanation. Keep recording all the steps and measures taken in the course of your experiment. The reason for this step is the same: to allow others repeat your achievements.

All the variables used in the experiment should be explained in details. Some variables as, for example, the controlled ones, remain unchangeable all through the experiment, while the independent variables change throughout your experiment. You need to mention that in the hypothesis. The reason for such changes in the dependent variables is that they suffer some manipulations with independent ones under experiments.

Note!

Sometimes instructors ask you to provide a lab report not in the form of a list, but in a written descriptive form, or fill out a lab report template. Consult and clarify this point with your instructor.

2. Post-experimental part of the lab report

  • Performing the experiment. Having found all the materials and having planned your steps, you can now start your experiment. Though, first you have to follow carefully all steps mentioned in Part1. It is crucial to complete it before the experiment, as you will get a clearer idea of the possible outcomes of your experiment. Thus, define the hypothesis and objectives, complete introduction, a list of materials, and only then carry out your experiment.
  • Recording the outcomes. This has to be your rough draft based on the experiment. All your observations are recorded here clearly and logically. The data should be well-organized and categorized to make it easier to read and comprehend. Graphs, tables, and other notes can be included here.

Note!

You can collect two different types of data. The first type, qualitative data, is aimed at observing data, it doesn’t include any numbers. The second type, quantitative data, is also aimed at observing data, but including some measurements. Qualitative data can be collected with the help of your five senses, while quantitative information usually includes such measurement units as temperature, density, grams, kilometers, etc. 

  • Results discussion. This section is used for the analysis of your experiment. Here you also provide interpretation, explanation, and analysis of your experiment. You can express your speculations if anything unpredictable happened during the experiment. Build up a hypothesis on what could happen if some variables were changed in the course of your experiment.
  • Accepting/rejecting hypothesis. Writing the conclusion, you need to give explanation whether your hypothesis proved to be correct/incorrect. Support your concluding arguments with the data obtained after the experiment and state whether it is acceptable or you reject it.
  • Including errors. Your data should include errors or any extreme data, which cannot be fitted along the other data. Here you also need to provide reasons to such errors and ways to avoid them.

Now you are ready to write a lab report. We were glad to share with you some useful tips on how to write a lab report and wish you good luck with doing your reports

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