Some students have no understanding about how to write a lab report in university, as they have never done it before. Others are confused about how to write a lab report outline. Some don’t know how to write a lab report discussion and what is an abstract in a report?
In our article we will answer these and some other questions to make the writing process smoother and easier.
What is Lab Report?
If you major in science than you will require to prepare various lab reports to show your supervisor what you did and learnt from a lab experiment, as lab reports are a crucial and an essential part of any laboratory course as well as important step to your grade.
How to Start a Lab Report?
Before you start any lab report you should fully understand everything you need to know about the experiment. Start with asking yourself:
- What will we do in the lab?
- What is the goal?
- How will I reach it?
- What equipment do I need?
- How beneficial is it?
When you have the answers on these questions, the next step is planning. Together with your lab partner discuss the steps of the experiment and the way you will record the data. Make sure that you write it carefully without missing any detail, as these notes will be needed for your report.
Discuss all the details beforehand. Ere starting the experiment, discuss with your supervisor the details about the report: the required size (brief or full) and length; make sure to understand the purpose and the main objectives of the report, the goal that should be reached, required equipment and methodology you want to use.
Work as a team. If you experiment with a partner or a group, make sure that everyone works together at the same path and speed.
Lab report introduction
It is known that the main task of any introduction is not only to present the topic but to “catch” the reader’s attention. If an abstract is a brief summary of the report, the Introduction is longer in length and provides more details. “How to write a lab report introduction?” you might ask. There are 4 steps that will help you to prepare a powerful introduction.
1. Start general, go specific! Before “jump” into the report itself, give some information about the field of study, or the reasons for the experiment.
2. Emphasize the importance of the test or experiment; explain your choice of studying and its relevance.
3. Proper cite literature review. Yes, yes literature review should be included in the Introduction part, as it shows what is known about the topic.
4. And finally, describe the purpose of your test, what hypothesis you tested and the questions you plan to answer.
Lab Report Format
Depending on your major or subject, the report writing format might vary, but all-in-all the general lab report format has the following structure:
- The Title page should be designed according to the guideline. Make sure to choose the title that is accurate and straight to the point;
- Abstract which is a brief summary of the report and normally has not more than 150 words describes the main objective of the experiment, the procedure, and the key findings.
- Introduction and Purpose is the part where you explain the reasons why this particular topic was chosen.
- Materials introduce all the necessary materials and equipment needed to complete the experiment. Remember; while preparing the list of the Equipment that has been used in the lab experiment mention its name and number to show that you used the same tools during your experiment.
- In Methods explain what methods were used during lab report writing.
- The most important and detailed part is Procedures where you step-by-step describe everything you did during the experiment. It’s very important not to miss anything as someone should be able to imitate your experiment by following your steps.
- In the part Data, create the chart with numbers that were obtained from the experiment. The style of the chart choose by yourself or follow the standards provided by the supervisor.
- Results and Discussion is the part where you list the test’s or experiment’s outcome as well as analyze calculations done based on the numbers received in the Data part. In a lab report Discussion part, analyze implications of the results paying attention to the errors and flows that were found during the experiment. The best way to do that is through Graphs, the part where you show figures of the experiment.
- The conclusion is the same as a closing paragraph and will reflect the findings that were reached during the experiment as well as hypotheses that were rejected or accepted. How to write a lab report conclusion? you might ask. There are 2 main things to remember:
1. If you are writing a long report after presenting the results in “Results and Discussion”, Conclusion is needed to sum up the paper and describe the results of the entire experiment. Explain, if the objectives mentioned in the Introduction were met or not. If there were not met, explain the reasons for that.
2. If a lab report is short or Results and Discussion are 2 separate parts then the Conclusion can be omitted.
In order to avoid any plagiarism, make sure to prepare a professional List of references where information is cited correctly.
These are the common rules of writing a professional lab report, but if you are still struggling or have any questions, we are always ready to assist you with any problem you might have.