How To Write A Lab Report?
If you are studying a subject that requires practical applications, then you must be acquainted with the concept of a lab report. Lab reports are basically a detailed written report of the practical demonstration or experiment, so as to document the experiment, including the process of experimentation and the final results. They are equivalent to exams and are an integral part of your marking system. However, a lot of students are never taught how to write a proper report.
The teachers make it worse because they don’t have a standard requirement and they expect something different from their students. Irrespective of these differences, all lab reports have the same goal: to document your research and reach the final result. In this article, we will discuss all the steps undertaken while writing a good lab report. Read on to learn how to write that A+ report:
A Guide on How to Write A Lab Report
We follow the APA (American Psychological Association) format of writing a lab report. It is the acceptable form of writing a scientific scholarly article; therefore, if you have no idea about the specifics, you have come to the right place. Let us have a look at the various sections of a lab report:
SECTIONS OF THE LAB REPORT
An ideal lab report consists of the following parts:
- Title Page
- Materials and Methods
You can have this as per the demand of your supervisor. It is a single page that contains the name of the experiment, your name and those of any lab partners, the name of the supervisor and the date.
The title aims reflects the aim of the experiment. It tells the reader what the report contains. Keep the title short and innovative in order to attract the attention of your readers.
An abstract is a summary of the report that you’re writing. It should ideally not exceed 250 words. It should contain your research, results, and an explanation of all the experimental procedures. An abstract should be written clearly. The report begins right after an abstract.
An introduction presents the aims of your argument. You should offer background information for the reader for the sake of clarifying the hypothesis. A hypothesis is a tentative answer for a scientific question. So, in a way, the introduction introduces a layman to the nuances of the scientific experiment.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Your methodology should be documented under this section. For other people to be able to experiment in future, you should provide complete details of how the experiment was done. However, refrain from writing a step by step account of your procedure. It’s not necessary to explain a series of implied actions.
In this section, you should summarize your data, highlight essential trends and support your views with descriptive statistics, details, and examples. You should remember to avoid comparing your findings to those of other people. Avoid discussing why your results were or were not in line with your predictions. The results should ideally appear in a logical order.
A discussion is the most critical section of a lab report. It indicates your ability to interpret and understand the results of the experiment. When you discuss the quality of your experiment, the reader should be able to draw conclusions from your results. Additionally, you may be required to discuss other scientists’ work. Lastly, you can suggest what form the additional research might take.
This is a list of your references cited in the lab report. You should never include sources that you did not cite in your text, even if it was useful in background reading.
A conclusion is a section where you state what you have learned from the research. It is extremely important because it helps you to understand the value of the experiment and convinces the reader that the experiment was a success. You should be specific when providing the details of what you’ve finally concluded.
Here, the information provided need not have to be included in your report, but can be of help to people wanting to know more about the details. If you decide to have appendices, remember to make references to them at least once in your text.
A good lab report should always be short. If there were any mistakes in your research data that occurred during the experiment, make sure to include them. Discuss possible reasons as to why the research might be wrong. Lab reports play an important role in all of your laboratory courses and are an integral part of your grade. But it isn’t a Herculean task. If you follow the above steps carefully, you will have your ideal lab report in no time!
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