How to Write a Scientific Laboratory Report
- 22 Jan 2020
Why Write a Lab Report?To communicate the results so that your peers may evaluate the effectiveness of your procedure and accuracy of findings is a very important aspect of science. For this reason it’s important to clearly and concisely represent your ideas, procedure, and conclusions in your formal lab report. The main purpose of this type of academic assignment is to give an account of what you did and learned from your experiment, as well as explain why your results matter.
Components of a Lab ReportAs usual, students are asked to complete six components when writing their lab report.
First of all you need to give an overview of the experiment you intend to conduct before going any further. This component includes:
● Title of your report
● Hypothesis, where you need to state the relationship between Elements A and Element B researched.
● Independent variable (the factor the scientists manipulates).
● Dependent variable (the thing that changes in response to changing Element A.
● Control group (one specific Element A’s value that all other groups are compared to),
● Experimental group (specific examples of Element A to be tested)
● Constants (a list of important variables not altered during the experiment).
Then, you need to introduce your experiment, as well as relevant laws, theories, or theorems. (At this point you may want to check out some useful research tips for college students.) In the introduction to your experiment, you need to briefly explain the logic or reasoning behind your experiment, specify what you expect to have happen during the experiment or what you hope to learn. Note that you need to write your introduction prior to conducting your experiment.
Next goes the materials section, where you need to list the materials or supplies required for your experiment. Similarly to the introduction, this section also needs to be written in advance.
Furthermore, describe the scientific procedure to follow. The procedure section represents a step-by-step layout of your lab. Each step can be provided in a bullet or numeral format and should be written before performing the experiment, as well. Your procedure section should be specific enough that anyone could pick up your experiment and conduct it without guidance.
It’s also important to include the data. In this section, you need to provide at least one data table set up before performing the experiment. Finally, when you’re done collecting your data after the experiment is finished you need to produce an appropriate graphic to exhibit your data visually. This section should be produced during and after the experiment.
The final component of your lab report is your conclusion. As the introduction, your conclusion should be written in a proper paragraph form. This can be a rather sizeable component of your lab report. It needs to address five different points described in sections above. The first thing you must do is to explain what the data means. In essence, what you need to do is to summarize in words what you graphs show. Second, you need to explain why whatever happened actually happened, in your opinion. Third, you need to describe any sources of error from your experiment. No matter how carefully you conduct your experiment there’ll always be some potential sources or bias. You don’t need to redo your experiment because of these sources; you just need to acknowledge them. Fourth, and this may go along with the previous section on sources of error, you just need to describe any changes you would make if you could repeat the lab. Fifth, mention any future research on this topic you would be interested in pursuing.