If you are pursuing any science major that requires lab work, you will most likely be required to write a lab report after every lab session. This is meant to help you to become an expert at writing lab reports so that later in life you will find it easy to do the same at work.
Lab experiments in almost all science courses (Chemistry, engineering, mathematics, welding, physics, biology, microbiology, biotechnology) are tough and, therefore, require full concentration. Unless you are a genius, you will not have the time or the multi-tasking ability to write a good lab report during your lab experiment. Writing down your scientific observations in a lab results sheet or a notebook is the closest thing to writing a lab report in the middle of a lab experiment.
A lab report presents the aims, methods, results, and conclusions of any scientific experiment to demonstrate that you understand the scientific facts and methods used in an experiment.
While it is difficult or rather impossible to write a good lab report during a lab experiment, it is totally possible to do it after an experiment. In this post, we will share with you all the important information you need to write a brilliant lab report.
You can use the information to write a lab report for any science, math, or engineering course lab session.
In terms of the general structure, a college lab report has eight major sections: title page, introduction, methods and materials, results/findings, discussion, conclusion and recommendation, references, and appendices.
The information you will learn here will familiarize you with what to include in a typical lab report and the order to follow:
Please note that the sections of a lab report will vary depending on institutional requirements and the preferences of your professor. However, the purpose, methods, and findings of a lab experiment are ubiquitous in every lab report.
In this section, you are going to discover the exact steps you need to follow to create a complete college lab report after a scientific experiment.
The first thing you need to do when you decide to write a lab report is to create a title. Your lab report title is the first thing the reader will see when they decide to read your report. Therefore, you should spare no effort in creating a good title for your report.
To create an effective title, you need to make sure your title captures the main objective or focus of your experiment. In other words, to make your title effective, you simply have to make sure it is very informative. A lab report title does not need to be creative or captivating; it just has to inform the reader what to expect inside.
Need the inspiration to come up with a lab report title? Check out the excellent lab report titles below.
Some tutors recommend creating your abstract last. While this is sound advice because it allows you to write something more accurate, we recommend creating it immediately after creating the title of your report. We recommend this because it prevents you from forgetting to include an abstract at the end of your report.
When creating an abstract for your report, make sure it is between 200 and 250 words long. It has to be brief but not too brief. Also make sure it explains to the reader the entire experiment including the research aims, the methods, the results, and the conclusion.
A good abstract will give the reader an excellent overview of your experiment. It will make him or her want to read the rest of the work. A hurriedly or poorly written abstract makes the reader disinterested in reading off the bat. So try your best to create a good abstract.
Need the inspiration to create an abstract? Check out the brilliant lab report abstract below:
Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients for green plants. The plants need it for healthy stems and leaves. They also need it to grow fruits. This experiment investigated the effects of nitrogen levels on Tomato height. The expectation was that higher levels of nitrogen in the soil would lead to leafy and taller plants.
The tomato plants in the experiment were divided into three groups. The first group was the control group and its soil did not get any nitrogen fertilizer. The second group was the experimental group and its soil received a high level of nitrogen fertilizer. And the third group was the second experimental group and its soil received a low level of nitrogen fertilizer. The changes in height were measured over a fifty-day period.
The effects of nitrogen on the height of the different tomato plant groups were tested utilizing an ANOVA. The plants that received a high level of nitrogen recorded the most growth in height. These plants were followed by those that received a low level of nitrogen. Plants that did not get any nitrogen fertilizer recorded the shortest average height among the three groups of plants. The result of this experiment is in line with what was expected. Nitrogen is indeed an important nutrient for green plants.
After creating a title and an abstract for your lab report, you should proceed to write your introduction. An introduction to a lab report serves a very simple purpose � to provide the reader with the context needed to understand the experiment.
The best way to write an introduction to a lab report is to start broad and then narrow it down to a specific topic or subtopic. Of course, at the end of your introduction, you must clearly state your research question.
How do you start broad and narrow down? Well, you do this by providing general background information on the research topic and then focusing on the research topic itself and its significance.
A lab report introduction is usually not too long. So do not spend a lot of time trying to explain the entire experiment in the introduction. Simply provide the reader with enough information to understand the experiment and its significance and move on.
After your introduction, you need to detail what exactly you did in your experiment. You need to do this in the �method� section of your lab report. To make sure your method section is satisfactory, make sure you give enough detail to enable someone to repeat the same experiment if they want to.
Therefore, provide details about the process including the design of the experiment, the subjects, the materials, and the procedures. Everything you write in this section should be from past tests.
When writing about the experimental design, you have to note whether the design is between subjects or within subjects. You should also provide details about the variables and the assumptions.
When writing about the subjects, you must describe them comprehensively. Talk about the numbers and how they were recruited. Talk about the groups and the control group. Let the reader fully understand the situation.
When writing about the materials, make sure you mention all the materials, tools, and equipment utilized in the experiment. If there are very specific tools and equipment, share the model numbers to ensure the reader understands what exactly was used and how.
Perhaps the most important part of your methods section is the procedures subsection. Your experiment would not be an experiment without a procedure. So, create a procedure in chronological order. Make sure your procedure is as detailed as possible to ensure the reader has a full understanding of what you did.
After providing the details about your experiment, you should proceed to report the results. You ought to use a statistical test to show how your results support or disprove your hypotheses.
The results that you should report in the results section of your lab report include all descriptive stats, statistical test results, how significant the results are, and the estimated standard error.
After the results section, you need to write the discussion section of your experiment. When doing this, you need to demonstrate your understanding of the results. This is the only way you will get top points in your paper.
Most professors/tutors will skim through most of your lab report but not the discussion section. They want to see how you understand the results and the theories or concepts behind them. Therefore, make sure you demonstrate a full scientific understanding of the results.
The best way you can handle the results section of your paper is to interpret the results, compare them with what you expected, explain everything unexpected, and recommend improvements for the future.
After demonstrating your understanding of the results in the discussion section, the next thing you need to do is to create the conclusion and references sections.
The conclusion should nicely wrap up your experiment, highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the design, and provide suggestions for future experiments.
The references section should include citations for all sources used in the report, especially the results and discussion sections.
Writing your report by following the steps above will give you a very solid first draft. To turn this first draft into a perfect final draft, you need to proofread it. Proofread it by reading it twice or thrice to identify errors and eliminate them.
Once you are confident that your lab report is polished and ready for submission, do just that. Submit it early to avoid forgetting about it, which could result in a late submission.
It is not easy to write a lab report. However, it is doable. Follow the structure and the steps in this post to write a brilliant lab report.
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